my career counselor says I won’t be able to work because of my monthly medical appointments

A reader writes:

I’m a college senior majoring in Public Relations. I’m still not exactly sure what I want to do yet but I know what industry I’d like to work in.

I have a medical condition that requires me to get a series of injections once per month. My doctor only works regular 9-5 hours so I would need a job that would be ok with me leaving early once a month. It would be best if it were a Friday because the injections make me very sick and that way I’d have the weekend to recover and wouldn’t miss any more work. I have to get these injections for the rest of my life.

I recently had a virtual meeting with my college career counselor to talk about job options. I mentioned that I would need to leave early one day a month and my career counselor told me that no boss would ever be okay with that, especially with me leaving early on a Friday and that my coworkers would just get jealous and resent me. She said I should just apply for disability instead of working.

Is it reasonable to ask for one half day per month? If so, when should I tell a future employer (during the interview or after I get the job)? If not, do I have any other options besides living on SSI and not working?

Your college career counselor told you to give up on working and apply for disability because you’ll need to leave work early once a month?

I have heard about a lot of ridiculous, misguided advice from college career centers, but this  is by far the most absurd and disturbing. Derailing someone’s future career over a monthly medical appointment that most managers and coworkers won’t care about one bit, and which the law requires them to accommodate?! Telling you to go on disability instead, when there’s no way these circumstances would make you eligible for disability?

What is wrong with this person?

This “advisor” is utterly out of touch with how workplaces work, clearly has no qualifications to do this work (which isn’t uncommon with college career centers), should not be giving her incredibly wrong-headed and discouraging job advice to students, and someone needs to stop her. I hope you will report what she told you to her boss — or if her boss seems inexperienced and out of touch too (again, not uncommon with college career centers), then to whoever this entire department reports to. If you give me their contact info, I’d be happy to make the report myself, because this is disgusting.

Lots and lots of people need medical accommodations like this. It’s not a big deal. It’s not going to keep you from having a career. You wait until you have a job offer, then you explain that you have a standing medical appointment once a month, ideally on a Friday so you have the weekend to recover, and you negotiate the accommodations you’ll need. Employers are required by law to work with you to accommodate disabilities as long as it won’t cause them undue hardship, which this won’t.

I’d love to know what this “career counselor” tells other people with chronic but manageable medical conditions. Should they give up on working too? How about observant Jews who need to leave early every Friday in the fall and winter to observe the Sabbath? Does she tell them no boss will ever be okay with that and coworkers will be jealous and resent them, and therefore they shouldn’t bother to work at all?

As a student, you should be highly pissed off that the person your college told you to take guidance from has no idea what she’s doing and is giving out advice that, if followed, could have seriously derailed you professionally. What if you believed her and stopped doing things to position yourself well for the job market? What other nonsense is she spreading to students, who will assume she knows what she’s talking about because of her job?

I am enraged over here, and one of us needs to report this person and stop her from continuing to advise students.

Read an update to this letter here.

{ 667 comments… read them below }

    1. Matilda Jefferies*

      Seriously. I thought Alison meant the OP from earlier today, who is worried about getting fired because she has to look after her kid. That was ragey enough, but this. THIS.

    2. GammaGirl1908*

      I mean. What even. WUT. OMGWTFBBQ. I’m rage-acronym-ing.

      LW, there are people who leave early once a WEEK in perpetuity for their own or a family member’s appointments. They take a few hours of leave, or work late another day, or make up the time somewhere else, or have bosses who just trust them to get their work done. My own current office has the scheduling organized so that lots of people work 10 hours a day 4 days a week, and then always take Friday or Monday off, or work 8.5 hours 13 days and take every other Friday off, or whatever. Some people in my office work 7-3:30 some days and 9:30-6 some days to accommodate appointments, childcare drop-offs, or just wanting to get a head start on the weekend. I have no idea what most of my colleagues’ day to day schedules are. I once had a boss who hated Monday mornings, so she worked 2-6 on Mondays, and 8-6 the rest of the week.

      I cannot tell you how much this would be a complete non-issue at the vast majority of workplaces.

      1. Clisby*

        +1000. I’m retired now, but I started my work life in 1974, and never worked anywhere that something like this couldn’t be accommodated. The advice is beyond ridiculous.

        1. Annie Nonymous*

          I’m an HR manager. This would be no problem to accommodate at my organization – and we’re a business that would require arranging coverage if someone has to leave early. We’d just…arrange the coverage. I’d probably ask the person to use an hour of PTO to cover the appointment – but once a month that would just add up to 12 hours of PTO (1.5 days) for the full year.

          If anyone at my organization pushed back or gave this employee any trouble, I’d remind them that this is our legal obligation to accommodate, and it’s not causing us any undue hardship.

          OP – you need to tell someone at your college what happened. This person should NOT be advising college students on their future careers.

          1. Anononon*

            There’s no way you would be able to adjust their hours or allow them to make up the time? Making them use PTO seems terribly punitive.

            1. LuckyPurpleSocks*

              I wouldn’t say that making them use PTO is punitive. Making them use unpaid leave would be worse. But of course, if flex hours are an option that would be best.

            2. Alton*

              I think it depends a lot on the nature of the job and the amount of PTO people get. I’m a non-exempt employee who works regular hours, and I have enough PTO that it’s not a problem for me to use use an hour or two here and there for things like doctor’s appointments. I also use public transportation, so I would rather use PTO than try to make up the time without missing my bus home.

              But if it’s a job where there’s no reason someone can’t work flexible hours, requiring PTO may not be as reasonable.

            3. Not A Girl Boss*

              I mean, I have 15 paid days of sick leave a year. I’d much rather use 1.5 days of it on this than have to make up the hours elsewhere.

              Obviously I realize everyone isn’t this lucky, but a lot of larger offices do give plenty of sick time to cover something like this.

              Also, LW, I have crippling migraines that can cause me to miss work with no notice, or leave work early with no notice, sometimes 4 days in one week (certainly more than one day a month, usually). And even when I worked for a dysfunctional hellhole where it was a huge deal for me to be out because coverage was required… They figured it out. Because, you know, its the law to figure it out? And everywhere else I’ve ever worked it the only reaction I got was “you poor thing, be sure not to come back before you’re ready”

          2. (Former) HR Expat*

            I’m an HR Manager AND a people manager. My hourly employee leaves an hour early every week for an appointment. And I don’t care. He makes up the rest of the time throughout the week. And for anything that might happen while my employee is out, I can step in and cover it.

            OP- this is not an issue. Your counselor is ridiculously out of touch with reality and THE LAW.

      2. Ann Onny Muss*

        I have a job where I have every other Friday off. Makes it much easier for appointments. A lot of employers do this. And even if they don’t have such a work-week setup, most employers/managers aren’t going to make a big deal over it. And if they do, you wouldn’t want to work for them anyway. Frankly, I think this career counselor should apply for SSI for recto-cranial inversion. They seem to have a terrible case of it.

      3. em_eye*

        I work in campaigns, a field with notoriously absurd hours and no work-life balance, and we could absolutely accommodate someone leaving early once a month. If we could do it, any office could.

      4. Potatoes gonna potate*

        Even my crappy company was accommodating when I had to go for biweekly prenatal appointments. Each appt was 2-3 hours long so I would just come to work early since the Dr’s office was a block away from my work, or stay late or work through lunch. Never got into trouble for that.

      5. Susan*

        Ok, I get OMG and WTF, but what does BBQ have to do with anger? I’m from NC, so BBQ, for me, is smoked and pulked Boston butt, and, trust me, there is NOTHING rage inducing about NC BBQ!!! I’m very confused!

        1. ThePants999*

          It’s deliberately nonsensical. The implication being you’re so utterly gobsmacked that you lose the ability to make sense, only able to continue the pattern of three-letter abbreviations…

      6. JessaB*

        Rage acronyming right with you I mean seriously? This career counsellor needs to be called out on this yesterday. This is…really, really, really bad. I mean I’ve had some really awful bosses, I had one that wanted to argue the reasonable accommodation of keeping ONE chair he already owned and paid for because I could sit in it with my disabilities and he just HAD to have everything all matchy matchy and HE would never have argued ***this*** ever. If I hadn’t moved out of state and thus quit the job I’d probably have told him we can re-cover the chair to look the same fabric as the new stuff. It was brown the new was red. But geez even HE wasn’t this outrageous. And he was on the list of really, really bad bosses.

      7. TardyTardis*

        I had a supervisor who was ok with me yelling “Mike. Emergency. Be back as soon as I can.” several times during my last year at work (took early retirement at the end of it, because this was not fair to her, the company, or me). Needless to day, I would have killed for, died for, or brought her bacon (long story).

        Once a month? Jenny would have offered up half a beef for my schedule to be that easy.

    3. Coder von Frankenstein*

      LW, if you were my co-worker and left early every fourth Friday, you know how I would react?

      I wouldn’t. Because I wouldn’t even notice. People have lives and sometimes those lives take them out of the office during the workday. As long as you block the time out on your calendar so I know not to book a meeting with you during that period, and as long as your work is getting done, what business is it of mine? My job does not involve surveilling my colleagues to be sure that their butts are in their seats from 9 to 5 every day.

      What you describe is entirely within the bounds of normal workplace stuff. It’s totally unremarkable. Your counselor is insane.

      1. pope suburban*

        Seriously! I work with a pretty transparent group of people who have standing or consistent medical appointments, and the only reason I even know is because they all prefer to share what they will be doing when out of the office. I don’t care, and when it comes to the standing appointments, I don’t even notice anymore. I don’t know what on earth is wrong with this so-called “career counselor.” This is absolutely not the kind of thing that’s a deal-breaker in the working world- and if you encounter an employer who finds it so, that’s a valuable warning sign for EVIL BEES!

      2. Slow Gin Lizz*

        I wouldn’t notice either. My officemate was getting allergy shots for over a year and had to leave an hour and a half early once a week. I always forgot until she was on her way out the door and if she hadn’t been my officemate I honestly would never have known.

      3. Quill*

        I can see some industries where it might be a legitimate problem due to coverage, but the vast majority of jobs aren’t going to be like that. And even in many coverage based jobs a regular appointment could potentially be worked around.

        1. Vichyssuave*

          I work one of those coverage jobs. In the kind of job where not having butts in seats could cost lives. If it’s a standing medical appointment you are given the option to use your sick time and we will cover it or you can trade some hours with a coworker (they come in early and you will stay late for them another day, for example). If it’s a last minute appointment or emergency, we WILL fill it for you, including paying people overtime. If *we* can make that work, I can’t imagine the level of dysfunction that would have to be present for a workplace to have an issue with this.

          1. Elizabeth the Ginger*

            Yeah, I’m a teacher and so responsible for children during set hours each week. And I know that my school would have no trouble figuring out how to accommodate this request with little inconvenience to anyone.

            1. Anne The Teacher*

              I am also a teacher. I know we could accommodate this at our school very easily.
              OP, this is not an issue.

              How can a working adult whose job is “career counseling” tell someone that this would be an issue is beyond me? This “career counselor” is so incredibly wrong. This person is so wrong that they should be written up and reprimanded. If this person doesn’t change their ways, this person should lose their job. Their so-called advice is the exact opposite of what this person should be doing in their job— which is assuring college students that a medical condition as described is literally NBD.

          2. JSPA*

            Given that 911 dispatchers, emergency room nurses, 24-7-365 emergency plumbing service employees and firefighters can take time off for medical needs, I wracked my brains whether there are any jobs for which this STEAMING PILE of BS would hold true, legally.

            Compliance inspector on an Alaskan fishing boat. Offshore oil rig. Polar research station crew. Certain branches of the military.

            Adding in illegal scenarios (mistreated migrant field laborer, certain large corporations known to abuse of their workers), this still only makes sense if the guidance person assumes that OP doesn’t have the skills of a 14 year old drop out.

            OP, unless there’s some other major issue rendering you unemployable, 98% of jobs, and 99.99% of the jobs you actually want, will not operate by these pseudo rules.

            Also, no way do you qualify for disability because you have a lifelong condition that can be managed by a few hours of treatment each month. So the advice is disasterously wrong both from the standpoint of what you should do, and what you shouldn’t do.

            1. Alisu*

              I was thinking along the same lines. All I could come up with was “maybe some very few career paths that take you out of civilization for months at a time” though I guess those career paths would have doc on board who would be able to give that care anyway. But even if there was maybe one or two very specific career paths where this might be a problem, the LW has the whole rest of everything to choose from.

            2. Anonny Mouse*

              Actually offshore rigs could accommodate this! In the US, you typically work two weeks, then have two off. Still ridiculous advice from the career counselor, even in that context.

        2. B*

          I’ve mostly worked coverage type jobs and this wouldn’t have been a problem at any. Last minute call offs are challenging, but a regular standing appointment known in advance is much easier to work around.

      4. Guacamole Bob*

        I took long lunches once a week for physical therapy for a while and just didn’t bother to tell anyone. In a lot of offices, no one is tracking your every move if you’re good at your job and get your work done.

      5. A Poster Has No Name*

        OMG, yes, this.

        And, really, if anyone notices and resents you, the problem would be with them, not you. And if I were the boss of such a person who complained to me about it, they’d be shut down quickly and firmly. This is literally nothing to worry about and your career saboteur could not be more wrong.

        1. interrobang*

          Um…also, a college senior with a medical condition that requires a couple hours’ worth of treatment one Friday a month would NEVER, EVER, EVER qualify for disability. This career counselor should be fired.

      6. PB*

        Yeah. I often leave early on Friday because I have vacation time to burn. It may even be more often than OP is describing. You know who cares? No one!

      7. Curmudgeon in California*

        For several years, my WFH day was Wednesday. Once a month, I would get to “work” late on Wednesday because I had a chiropractor appointment. (I have hemiparesis, which means I walk lopsided and awkwardly, so the chiro helps keep my back from being too messed up.) I let my boss know, put it on my calendar, and that was it.

        When they changed to “everyone must be onsite on Wednesdays” pre-COVID, I changed my appointment day, updated my boss and the calendar, and that was it.

        My coworker for a while had to take her kid to orthodontist appointments seemingly every other week. The rest of the team shrugged, and maybe commiserated with her about the expense.

        Routine, monthly, even weekly, medical appointments are *common*. It’s only nasty, low paid, low control jobs that get pissy about it, IME. Professional positions requiring a college education are more reasonable, IME, probably because they are paying for your knowledge more than your presence.

    4. emmelemm*

      My heart literally started beating faster after I read this letter. And I’m fairly unflappable.

    5. EPLawyer*

      Unbelievably ragey week. Flames all u p the side of my face and down the other ragey.

      So a perfectly capable person should give up and live on disability (becuase that’s ever so much) because they need a half day once a MONTH? First of all disability wouldn’t even approve that. You are not disabled. You can worik. You function. You CLEARLY made it through school this far (and congrats on that). So why on earth would you not be able to handle a job.

      Even when employers have their choice of people because of high unemployment this won’t even be a blip on the screen. Heavens does she tell pregnant women to just never work again because you need to go to medical appointments when they are expecting? Does she know no employed people who have regular therapy sessions (a lot more than once a month I might add).
      This is just so ridiculous that I wnat to know the counselor so I can yell at her on LWs behalf.

      LW I say this with all sincerity, you are employable.

      1. Arts Akimbo*

        “LW I say this with all sincerity, you are employable.”

        But maybe that career counselor is not. Seriously, I want to go back in time and fire her.

      2. Jaydee*

        I will second this as a lawyer who previously handled Social Security disability cases. I would not take this LW’s case because that is not even close to the standard that SSA used to find someone eligible for benefits. On the other hand, as a lawyer with knowledge of disability discrimination laws, I would be all excited if any employer *did* refuse to hire or later terminate the LW for needing one afternoon a month off for medical appointments. Because I’m struggling to imagine a circumstance where that could not be reasonably accommodated.

        Also, this is a time to have a conversation with that career counselor’s boss and/or the school’s disability services office. Because someone needs to set the counselor straight.

    6. Bella*

      for the record, one job let me come in late once a month because the VET had typical 9-5 hours and my CAT needed to be seen that frequently.

      1. JimmysMom*

        I came in to work about 30 minutes late once per month for 8 YRS because my chinchilla needed monthly tooth trims. Whenever I told my boss I had a dentist appt he jokingly asked if it was for me or the chin.

    7. Jules the 3rd*


      LW, your advisor is full of stuff. Most industries / office workers wouldn’t care at all. Alison is 100% right on how to handle it.

    8. Analytical Tree Hugger*

      People (in general), I have enough to be angry about. Please stop adding to my list.

      (Resignedly adds “harmful advice given to vulnerable audiences” to the list)

    9. Observer*

      I’m not sure which is worse – this or the boss who wants the OP and coworkers to help out with fraud.

      1. Lady Meyneth*

        Yes, I thought the rage part of the day was the fraudster boss. Boy, was I wrong, we were definitely on a crescendo today!

        1. Jolie*

          What if fraudster boss wouldn’t make this accommodation? And for some reason career counsellor believes him to be the only employer in the world?

      2. Akcipitrokulo*

        I’m going with this. Fraudulent boss is cheating. This “advisor” is potentially ruining people’s lives.

    10. Lady Meyneth*

      This made me see red!

      OP, I also have a chronic illness that demands a doctor’s appointment every month. Literally nobody has ever cared, ever, in more than 10 years in the work force. It has not affected my evaluations, raises, promotions, not even my relationship with my peers. That “counselor” is completely full of BS. You are perfectly employable, and I hope you have a great carreer!

      Please please report this ableist subhuman they are calling “counselor”.

      1. Powerpants*

        I have a medical condition that means I need to leave early 3x a week. Your needing to do this one a month is awesome because it means you can weed out awful workplaces that don’t support the health of their employees.

    11. Sharkie*

      I’m so annoyed for this person. At my old job EVERYONE would leave an hour or two early on Friday in the summer to go fishing and because I was the one who held down the fort, I got to leave early before long weekends or come in late on Monday. Most places are flexible, ESPECIALLY for medical appointments

  1. Lana Kane*

    YOU TELL ‘EM!!

    OP, please report this counselor. This is egregious advice. Take it from a manager: it is absolutely ok to work this out with your employer. It’s appalling that you were told this.

    1. Jane Austin Texas*

      +1. As a manager, I have WAY more challenging situations than leaving early once a month. OP, please report this and forget everything this counselor ever, ever told you.

    2. Heidi*

      I don’t think I would even notice if one of my colleagues left early once a month. This is a completely reasonable and doable accommodation.

      What qualifications are needed to become a college career counselor? It sounds like this counselor hasn’t had any experience or training on how real employment works. Or they work with petty tyrannical jerks themselves. Reports like this make me question the role of college itself.

      1. Teekanne aus Schokolade*

        I’d pay a fee just to read the email Alison would send on this student’s behalf.

        1. Beckysuz*

          I will donate to the charity of Alison’s choice to read that email !! Anyone with me?

        2. FuzzyFuzzyCat*

          SAME!!! Thank you Alison for advocating for us – signed, someone with a chronic health condition

      2. bees*

        Well, there are “Here be bees!” workplaces where every move is scrutinized, but literally everywhere else, you’re fine. If you run into an employer where it looks like it might be an issue, run, don’t walk!

      3. College Career Counselor*

        I commented way down and am now catching up. And now I’M ragey on behalf of everyone who’s had a terrible/incompetent/useless academic or career advisor.

        Someone asked up-thread what the qualifications are to be a career counselor. Generally, a Master’s degree credential, in Higher Education, Counseling, Student Personnel, Social Work, etc. The better programs will have a practicum that allows students to learn and gain experience doing the job in a paraprofessional or other limited role while still in graduate school, under the supervision of someone else in the office. That person is supposed to mentor them, answer questions, provide resources and information, inform them of best practices, etc. Unfortunately, as we see here, it does NOT necessarily require anyone to know anything about HR, hiring practices, labor law, etc. You are expected to educate yourself on that in the job and keep current on industry and employment trends, as well as other best practices in working with students from a variety of backgrounds and with a variety of concerns (which counselor Dunning-Kruger up there clearly hasn’t done, because she probably thinks she already knows it all).

        It’s a great job if you like working with students, AND you want to do right by them. Otherwise, at best you’ve retired on the job and at worst, you’re actively damaging people who come to you for help. In both of those cases, you should GTFO or be fired.

    3. SomebodyElse*

      Another manager chiming in.

      I can’t even begin to verbalize how ridiculous this person is… Please don’t ever listen to them again.

      Honestly… I feel a rant coming on about college career centers… I’ll not get started because all I have to do is point to this example.

      No OP, this does not make you unemployable and wouldn’t raise an eyebrow for 99.5% of managers out in the world.

    4. Ominous Adversary*

      This is not just bad advice. It sounds like this counselor is sabotaging the careers of students with disabilities and needs to be removed immediately.

      1. Annoyed lawyer*

        Sabotaging their entire financial future. I do disability law. If her only limitation at work is that she needs to leave early once a month, her SSI or Title II claims would be denied so fast her head would spin. Private disability insurance also isn’t paying; if she had been working and had own occupation coverage, there’s still literally no job where a couple hours a month is disqualifying.

        1. Gazebo Slayer*

          Even people who *are* so severely disabled they can’t work get denied for disability all the time. And disability payments for people who actually manage to qualify are horrifically low, because the US is run by despicable monsters in human skin.

          1. Curmudgeon in California*

            This, times 1000. I have a couple roommates who live on disability – SSDI. The only way they can live in my high cost area is because I give them a biiiiiiig break on rent, because they’re friends. SSI for retirement is nearly as bad. They went through the denial-go-round. I fronted them money to live on.

            I won’t get into what I wish the thieves in power in the US would suffer because of their misplaced parsimony. Alison doesn’t need that level of vitriol on her site.

            That “career counselor” is ableist scum, and deliberately destroying careers before they start with very, very bad “advice”.

            I had a stroke, and have hemiparesis. I switched fields and retrained myself so I could work and not have to try to live on the meager amount SSDI might give me. Disability is for when you literally can’t work, and it’s instant poverty just about anywhere in the US. It’s a thin, partially rotted safety net that is only partially effective for the truly desperate. My advice for my fellow disabled people is to try to work if you can, because disability is so awful.

          2. Alton*

            THIS. It’s not easy for most people to get or keep disability benefits even when they really need them.

            1. Beckysuz*

              It’s true. My brother has to do mountains of paperwork to keep his disability. Which he desperately needs. He gets about $650 a month. He will have to live with my parents until they pass and then with me. It will never be enough to allow him to live independently

        2. MassMatt*

          I’m glad you mentioned this point. In addition to being clueless about work norms and potentially sabotaging students coming to him for help, this counselor clearly has NO idea about disability pay. Social Security’s definition of what constitutes “disability “ is extremely restrictive. It also doesn’t pay much, only $783 per month.

          That this guy thinks someone that needs a couple of hours off per month for some shots is incapable of working is infuriating.

        3. History Geek*

          Yep, 783 is all you get on ssi. You can get more on ssid but that requires having worked for years.

      2. Harper the Other One*

        EXACTLY what I was thinking. This person is guaranteed going to discourage people with very manageable disabilities to give up on career plans and I am FURIOUS.

        1. StrikingFalcon*

          My disability is *far* more intrusive than this and I still expect to have a career. That’s not to say it won’t have its challenges but it’s not like flexible schedule, work from home jobs don’t exist these days. 9-5 jobs can accommodate someone leaving early once a month (a month!) and there are plenty of jobs that will accommodate more than that! In fact, I’m working out a schedule for a remote internship right now. Pretty much any shift work can schedule around an occasional commitment like this, and office jobs will just have you make up the time earlier in the week if needed (or just not care as long as your work is done). This is such a non issue, I can’t even imagine what advice she would give to someone like me. I’m so angry on OP’s behalf.

      3. Observer*

        Not just their careers. The ramifications of this advice cut across the entire life of a person.

        This person has an incredibly dark view of people. To accept her advice is to accept that all people are horrible and that successful people are, by definition, the most horrible of all.

      4. allathian*

        Yes this. It’s just so incredibly ableist. I know that I’m luckier than most in that I have very flexible working hours and that my boss cares about deliverables and not the time I put in. Working hours are only monitored to ensure that people don’t work themselves to the point of burnout and that people aren’t slacking off completely. We mark our calendars to let our coworkers/boss know when we’re out of the office/unavailable. It’s very liberating when it’s a matter of FYI rather than asking the boss for permission to be absent. Of course, I work at a job that doesn’t need coverage, but nobody would bat an eye if someone had an appointment every Friday at 3 PM or whatever.

    5. some dude*

      yes, this is insanely wrong and discriminatory.

      Many offices are fairly empty Friday afternoon. Leaving early once a month is NBD. Even leaving early every friday wouldn’t be a big deal. If you had to have procedures every afternoon, even then something could be worked out for most office jobs – work a reduced schedule, or work a little in the evenings to make up for the time you missed.

      This counselor is off base.

    6. NotAnotherManager!*

      YES, report, report, report! This career counselor knows less than my cat (and he’s not bright).

      I am a hiring manager. I hire between 3 and 12 college seniors every year, depending on demand. Having to leave a few hours early ONE DAY PER MONTH FOR A MEDICAL NEED would not even raise an eyebrow. I know literally no one who would care about this, and it’s certainly not a reason to abandon a career before you even get started. I have people with way more limitations (kids, elder care, health issues, etc.) who are great at their jobs and well worth scheduling around. Only the most unreasonable of rigid schedulers would bat an eye at this.

  2. SweetestCin*

    Yes. Rage week continues.

    Please, LW, please report this person to the correct entity within your college to make sure that she’s not allowed to offer whacktastic advice anymore.

    1. Done with job hunting*

      Someone this ignorant of current laws and so out of touch with current employment practices has no business counseling anyone. Please report her, up the chain of command if necssary. Perhaps you could let the college newspaper in on this person’s incompetence. It would make an interesting story.

      1. Ego Chamber*

        LW: Tell everyone about this.

        Tell the counselor’s boss (because the advice is to change the course of your whole life and you want a second opinion before you commit to that). Tell your course adviser and the fin aid office (because it doesn’t make a lot of sense to keep going to school if you’re just going to get on disability after graduating). Tell the people you go to school with (because maybe they also got some really bad advice and you can trade horror stories).

        Most people you tell will be confused, then enraged, and it will all make it’s way back to the career center.

        1. JustaTech*

          Tell your department chair. Tell your advisor (if you have one). Warn all the students in the lower classes.

          And since you’re about to graduate, tell the alumni association. If they have any pride at all in your school and the value of your degree they will be furious that this career counselor thinks that your entire education is worthless because of one shot once a month. If the administration doesn’t listen to you directly they sure as heck will listen to a riled alumni association, because that is where the money comes from.

  3. ZSD*

    Can we please have an update on whether this unqualified counselor gets fired or if the career center doubles down on this advice?

      1. Radio Girl*

        That is the most disgusting thing I’ve ever read here.

        This counselor must be reported.


        1. ampersand*

          That this is the most disgusting thing you’ve read here says A LOT. I don’t disagree with you; there’s just so!much! to choose from.

          Truly, this person needs to be stopped from being paid to give horrendous, damaging advice to college students who may not know any better. Thankfully, LW wrote in to ask.

        2. Airy*

          And this is on a site where we’ve heard about a guy emptying cups of his own urine into the staff kitchen sink.

      2. Annastasia von Beaverhausen*

        OMG, this ‘advisor’ is a dough head!

        Please report them and ignore this terrible advice.

        It’s foolish and wrongheaded.

    1. EddieSherbert*

      And quite frankly, I will be terribly unsatisfied if they are *not* fired!

    2. irene adler*

      I’m sure they won’t get fired for this. Unless this is the final straw in a long list of other ignorant statements passed off as “working world wisdom”.

      But they sure should be.

      So if said student heeds this advice, files for disability, gets denied, then what?

      They will have to find a job. Putting them right back where they started-in the career counselor’s office asking for advice on getting a job. What a waste of time.

      1. Anonys*

        They SO should be fired for this. This counsellor clearly has a huge problem with ableism and being generally out of touch with objective reality. If the response to OP’s medical condition, which can be managed through minimal pre-planned absences is “never work”, I shudder imagining what kind of outrageous things this person has already said to students with more intrusive disabilities. Also how can an adult be aware of disability benefits but be fully oblivious to reasonable accommodations (which are also a thing at colleges)? I feel like there’s a good chance this person is more malicious (maybe caught up in some eugenics thinking) than pure stupid. I mean, sure college careers counsellor aren’t known for being capable, but this level of incompetence is hard to explain away with sheer ignorance.

        But yeah, good chance higher ups will not handle this how they should, which IMO is firing this person and getting in touch with all students they “advised”, especially apologizing to any disabled students who had to deal with this POS.

      2. Observer*

        I wonder.

        If this is in the US, what the counselor is doing is essentially illegal. It is ABSOLUTELY a huge liability risk for her employer. Instead of working with the OP to figure out career paths that are the least likely to have a problem with some basic scheduling flexibility, she’s basically refusing to even take 5 minutes to think about it. And her excuse is that all employers are idiots and jerks who wouldn’t even *consider* their legal obligations.

    3. OrigCassandra*

      Yes, please. I am absolutely rigid with shock and outrage at this. I really want to know this person isn’t harming any more students!

    4. Pomona Sprout*

      OMG, yes!

      LW, please report this grossly incompetent, so-called “career counselor” to whoever there is to report them to. And please, please take Alison up on her offer to contact them herself, because the word of a well known expert in the field such as her should carry additional weight.

      (P.S. I’m replying late because I got behind in my AAM reading this week and I’m just now catching up. Hoping for good news by the end of the comments or at some future date.)

  4. Emma Bear*

    Just want to point out that if any future employer DOES bristle at this (incredibly reasonable) medical request that’s a red flag in and of itself. You got this!

    1. Lady Catherine de Bourgh*

      Good point! You don’t want to work for someone who won’t let you leave a few hours early once a month (a month!) for a medical appointment because they are probably awful in many other ways too.

    2. Ahsley*

      Granted there are some jobs the require rigid schedules but if an employer isn’t willing to work with you on something like this imagine how unwilling they will be working with you on things like taking your vacation time or if you have the flu. Definitely judge an employer if they don’t see this as completely reasonable. (And can we be honest, in my experience the least amount of accurate work happens on Friday afternoons.)

      1. Jules the 3rd*

        Even the ones with rigid schedules usually let you work with whole day changes – like, say, nurses or police, pick up a Sunday shift instead of a Friday one. I can’t think of an industry that would require that someone be in the office 9 – 5, 5 days / week, with no exceptions.

        1. TechWorker*

          I used to work a 9-6 reception job and they could be pretty rigid (being late was a fireable offence so a couple of times I practically ran there after my bus didn’t show up). There were two of us covering that building and we generally couldn’t take PTO at the same time and flexing hours to the weekend definitely wasn’t an option… I’m not sure they would have been thrilled by needing to leave early once a month but they would have coped!

      2. Em*

        I have worked in a ton of call centres, which are notoriously awful places to work, and THEY would have been fine with this (bar one, and that place was one where you could go to any doctor in town and say “I work at X” and they’d sign off on stress leave, no questions asked, just an understanding nod). They wouldn’t go “no, you can’t work here,” they’d say “okay, would you be able to work 7-3 instead of 9-5 on a Friday?”

        And that’s IF you’re working 9-5 anyway. Lots of businesses have a variety of options that aren’t 9-5.

        1. Ego Chamber*

          Samesies. Any of the jobs I’ve had where this would be an issue are not in positions where it was common for someone with a PR degree to work because of their PR degree. (Lots of advanced degrees at call centers, retail, food service, etc but that wasn’t exactly where anyone with those degrees was aiming to land.)

    3. Np*

      This. I’d always loved my workplace, but the support I received when I was ill (including the need to leave early or even during the day every 1.5 months or so for tests/appointments — IN PERPETUITY) was phenomenal. There are employers out there, OP!

  5. 2 Cents*

    OMG. *flames on the sides of my face* I, too, have a chronic condition that I need WEEKLY appointments for. I’ve had 5 jobs. Not one manager has batted an eye at this accommodation. (I usually say I have an appointment over my lunch break, but no one bats an eye if I’m gone for longer because I have a good work record.) This career counselor is SO OFF BASE, it’s not even funny. Even the semi-toxic workplaces I’ve been in (or observed through friends) haven’t been this strict or wildly unaccommodating for reasonable requests (which a once-a-month appointment most certainly is!)

    1. Just A Zebra*

      I came here to say this, too. I have bi-weekly appointments for a chronic condition, and my employers (two in retail, mind you) had ZERO issues accommodating me. What LW is asking for is well in the realm of normal. Also worth pointing out that women who are pregnant have once a month (or more, depending) appointments, and nobody bats an eye. Seriously, report this person.

      1. KaciHall*

        Well, I was fired for getting pregnant because I didn’t have any time accrued to use for doctors appointments at a new job (perfectly legal in Missouri if you only have five employees.) But I was salary and making $20,000 plus theoretical commissions for fifty hours a week, so it wasn’t really a bad thing. So there are some unreasonable bosses out there, but you are well rid of them.

        1. Observer*

          Sure there are unreasonable bosses out there. But you warn students about their existence. You don’t claim that this is the norm, and even imply that it’s reasonable!

    2. Deanna Troi*

      I also need monthly injections. I leave work 3 hours early every fourth Wednesday (fortunately, I don’t have any recovery issues). My supervisor couldn’t be more supportive and NO else cares. Or probably even notices.

    3. SPDM*

      I have monthly appointments at minimum and I have always been employed. This is so bizarre. So. Bizarre.

  6. Daniel*

    Good lord. There’s no way this is just inexperience by your counselor–she may be deranged.

    Situations like your happen in every office. It’s not a big deal. The workaround is easy (either take a couple hours off for the appointment or make up the time on another day). I am baffled the counselor thinks otherwise. Any chance she just got out of college herself?

    1. Gav*

      I agree – this almost seems like malicious advice, not just the advice of a naive or out-of-touch person. I mean, seriously? Are there NO qualifications for being a career counselor?

      1. Quill*

        I’d be wary of the college’s entire track record towards disabled students if this person is giving out advice like this, to be honest.

            1. KoiFeeder*

              They aren’t, but if she’s maliciously attempting to torpedo a disabled person’s career, that’s because she’s ableist, not because she’s deranged.

          1. Gazebo Slayer*

            Yeah, she just wants anyone with any kind of disability to shut up and disappear and not participate in the world. (And I bet she’d scream bloody murder about actually raising the amount folks on disability are paid or increasing eligibility.)

            1. Keymaster of Gozer*

              Had a recruiter like that. Anyone with medical issues at all would be ‘taking a job from healthy people’ and if you went on benefits you were a ‘drain on society’. Thoroughly unpleasant woman.

              1. Jolie*

                Then exactly what the beeep was she expecting people with chronic illness to do? Grow magic money trees to become independently wealthy?

        1. Diahann Carroll*

          Omg, THIS. I can’t even imagine what this counselor is telling them about their job prospects. This is scary – the amount of harm being done here cannot be stated enough.

        2. Environmental Compliance*

          +100. This is so bad that it goes past plain incompetence and straight into discrimination.

      2. Kiki*

        I don’t want to blast all career counselors, academic advisors, and other college employees (I’m sure there are great ones), but my experience has been that a lot of them do not have much or any experience in the world outside of academic institutions, so their advice is virtually useless those pursuing jobs outside of academia. I think expectations for taking time off do tend to be more strict in academia and jobs at colleges than in the corporate world, so I could see her perceiving the time off as a bigger deal than it is, but it definitely seems like she’s heaping on her own ableism. She should be removed from the role and an investigation should be conducted into the harm she has caused.

        1. Alton*

          I don’t know, I work in academia and I was surprised by the counselor’s misinformation in this case. My experience is that while policies can sometimes be more rigid, that can work to the advantage of work/life balance sometimes (because people tend to disconnect from work when taking PTO or when they’re off the clock). I’ve never felt discouraged from taking time off, personally.

        2. Well...*

          Ridiculously, they are also awful at academic career advice! They know nothing about subfields (one told me she thought all scientists work in labs) and they are completely (willfully?) ignorant about the competitiveness of the academic market.

        3. Lovecraft Beauty*

          It’s been my experience that career centers are good for academia and whatever the college feeds into — my alma mater was pretty good at helping students get entry-level positions in finance or consulting, but when I said I wanted to go into a specific tech niche, they were clearly befuddled.

          1. just a random teacher*

            I got excellent advice from the career center when I was in grad school for k-12 education, but that’s because it was a particular area of focus for a school with a strong reputation they were trying to keep. Also, the only reason you go to grad school to get your teaching license is because you want to teach in public schools, which is also where you spend most of your year doing student teaching, so they had the close relationships with employers to make it all work. They had special workshops and career days just for people in the teaching program so we’d get advice on how to format education-specific resumes and practice interviewing with principals. Of course, programs like that also really, really care about their placement rates and also want their graduates to look like they have a clue when they’re interviewing for jobs.

            When I was in undergrad and trying to figure out how to get an internship doing something related to computer science, the career center was useless.

        4. Observer*

          I don’t buy it. At all.

          I do get that academia is different than most of the world, and that by many measures it’s often rather dysfunctional. But this advice goes waaaaaay beyond that. I mean, the ADA has been around for 30 years! And it applies even in academia.

        5. SarahTheEntwife*

          The time-off restrictions in academia might depend on what aspect of academic work you’re in and/or what type of institution. I work in an academic library and we’re incredibly flexible with time off and schedules in general. When I worked in circulation it was a little stricter than in my current position because we were managing a front-facing service point, but even there for a once a month appointment it would have been trivial to swap hours with someone else.

        1. Akcipitrokulo*

          …oh shi…

          That makes a horrible amount of sense. I now hope they are “just” ablist :(

        2. MassMatt*

          Oh, interesting, that explanation might fit. Adds a layer of anti-trans hate to the mix of incompetence.

        3. Forrest*

          Huh, I thought it was something like lupus or rheumatism and a drug like infliximab or adalimumab. I think there are definitely ableist explanations as well as transphobic ones, but I would rule transphobia out.

    2. Paulina*

      My guess is that when she says coworkers would be jealous and hate the OP for getting monthly long weekends, she means like she would do.

      1. allathian*

        Especially as the OP’s probably spending most of the weekend resting because the injections leave her unfit to work…

      2. Ego Chamber*

        Yeah it kind of sounds like LW accidentally learned some gross stuff about the interpersonal dynamics and ableist bigotry in the career center. Fun!

  7. Anon Anon*

    Well said.

    This “career” counselor gave the most ridiculous advice I’ve seen. And I wonder what type of experience this career counselor has out in the real world? In all my years of working (and it’s decades), I never had an employer who would not have allowed me to leave for this sort of appointment. And I’ve worked for a couple of pretty crummy employers. However, I will put in a caveat that I’ve never worked in a call center or other industry where they monitor you every second. I can see how those employers might be less thrilled about that sort of thing, but they are legally required to make an accommodation. And in terms of co-workers, I’ve never once resented a co-worker because they needed to go medical treatment. If you resent a co-worker for that reason then I question what kind of human being you are.

    1. Jaybeetee*

      Ex-call centre person here (funny, I don’t normally mention it all the time, but this is the second time I’m mentioning it today). Call centres can actually be something of a safe haven for a lot of chronically ill or disabled people. They tend to have accommadative policies, they’re often ground-floor warehouse-type deals that are easy to get around in a wheelchair, and it’s often possible to be flexible with shifts and hours. I worked with people in call centres who needed significant time off due to health issues, or had unpredictable health and often couldn’t work – the time off might be paid, but they generally could at least keep the jobs.

      1. Jules the 3rd*

        Yep, and usually call centers are just fine with weird schedules, as long as people show up for their scheduled time. They usually value people who are willing to do 2nd shift / weekend work reliably.

      2. Tempanony*

        Nearly 15 years of call service center experience here so I guess that makes me a veteran or masochist, lol.

        I agree centers tend to be accessible, especially large ones (though increasingly call centers have been converting to work from home, the pandemic will only accelerate the trend), but while there might be flexibility in the sense of trading shifts, none I have seen have ANY flexibility when it comes to tardiness or last-minute cancellations. I actually did know people that had schedule adjustments for regular appointments for various reasons, but still I wouldn’t call their policies flexible.

      3. JSPA*

        They can be real disease factories during cold & flu season from what I’ve heard from friends (and that was without COVID).

        1. Ego Chamber*

          Yup. I worked at one that had a case of norovirus that had been rolling through everyone for 5 years and it never went away. I could speculate on why but I could also just say everybody please wash your hands after pooping and that would go a long way to solving it.

          I got out a few years ago but some of my family didn’t and I’m pretty scared of the way they’re “managing” the Covid situation—it’s a dangerous combination of people who are at super high risk of getting it and people who are right-wing extremists who believe the virus doesn’t exist and/or something about Bill Gates and cell towers and the mark of the beast (it’s legitimately hard to follow, so I don’t).

      4. somebody blonde*

        I also worked in a call center and it was my experience that it’s actually easier to accommodate appointments because you can move to an earlier or later shift.

    2. Phony Genius*

      I think the problem is that college career counselors often only have job experience as college career counselors. They have little experience in other fields. And what’s worse is that they’re working in academia, where we have learned on this blog that many workplace rules do not apply. I’m not sure how to solve this other than to hire people who have experience working in regular workplaces.

      1. Observer*

        Even in academia the ADA is a thing. And weird schedules are not unheard of there, either. And I do mean weird, not just half a day off once a month.

        So, even someone who has only worked in academia should be aware of this, even if they have never picked up a newspaper, listened to the radio or watched any TV other than cartoons.

  8. Robin Sparkles*

    Adding my voice over to Alison’s- PLEASE REPORT THEM. This is so egregious and I worry about the students. I mean, if she is telling you something like this, then she probably gives terrible and bad advice across the board and needs to be fired yesterday! I am furious on your behalf.

  9. Dust Bunny*

    Good grief, if this were enough to prevent one from holding a job almost all of us would be unemployed.

    1. SunnySideUp*

      Right? Let’s ask that “career counselor” if she’s ever had to ask for time off!

    2. Anonys*

      Yes, by this logic only the healthiest of the healthy are capable of working. I don’t have one specific condition I need regular appointments for any I consider myself pretty healthy without any major health issues but I’m dealing with a few minor things that need regular monitoring and between that and therapy and physical therapy appointments I definitely take more than an afternoon off every month, even if I often only leave an hour or a half early.

      Also OP, if you get a job where you are classified as salaried exempt this will likely be even less of an issue, as you’ll have more flexibility over your own schedule. You should save this counsellor’s email and once you have a great job in PR (which I’m very sure you’ll get) send them regular updates to your linkedin profile (kidding- kind of).

      1. Taniwha Girl*

        Honestly the PTO for colds and appointments and so on probably adds up to about the same amount OP is asking for. I don’t have any chronic conditions but this is an incredibly reasonable amount to ask for. Companies can and do accommodate much more. What a bizarre assumption that this tiny tiny amount of time off means you cannot work anywhere ever.

        1. Dust Bunny*

          I rarely need medical time but in the past two weeks I’ve taken two full days of vacation for medical treatments for a foster pet. Granted, I don’t *usually* have foster pets but this is the second time I’ve trapped a stray kitten in my neighborhood so I can’t swear it won’t keep happening.

          And of course the fact that I’ve rarely needed medical time in the past doesn’t mean I won’t need it in the future.

          1. Jennifer Thneed*

            Good on ya. (I’m fostering a litter of strays myself; they’re going to their forever homes this week. It’s been a ride! I’ve always fostered thru an agency before, and having to make all the decisions myself has been nerve-wracking.)

      2. Keymaster of Gozer*

        I’m wondering if that counsellor is one of those ‘only bad people have bad things affect them’ types…you know, the sort who’ll tell you all your medical issues are your fault because you didn’t have positive thoughts/didn’t eat a restrictive diet/didn’t do yoga/didn’t try essential oils etc.etc.

  10. Archie Goodwin*

    This has got to be one of the most asinine things I’ve ever heard in my life.

    I know a handful of people with recurring medical appointments such as you describe. Nothing (save, perhaps, the limitations of their conditions) prevents them from otherwise living a full, rich life. All it means is that they need to figure out a way to work it into their schedules. Anyone who thinks otherwise is, to put it mildly, a damn fool.

    1. Mimi Me*

      It is asinine, no doubt, but I know that there are others outside of this person who dispense this advice. My sister has been told by her doctor as well as a person at her job that she should apply for disability. Let’s just start with the fact that my sister doesn’t actually have a disability. In fact, when she opted to listen to her MD (because she trusted him to to tell her the truth) and did apply the state denied her claim and flagged her case so she had to have a follow up to the denial with a face-to-face meeting. She still isn’t sure why the face-to face meeting happened, but her MD closed his practice less than a year later so I don’t think it was a coincidence. Not every injury or disease even qualifies for disability, especially when, like the OP, the treatment is workable like this.

    2. Fake Old Converse Shoes (not in the US)*

      I had a classmate in college who needed regular shots to keep a chronic condition in check. On one memorable occasion his medical appointment was before an exam, so he took a taxi straight from the hospital (even when teachers had no problem to place him with other group the following week) and passed with high marks! Luckily for him his insurance covered a better treatment soon after that.

  11. Precious Wentletrap*

    “I have to bounce at noon once a month on Fridays for gravy infusion” is like the lowest possible stakes chronic illness accommodation, an hourly job at worst would just not put you on the schedule and have you take it unpaid. Hell, the further along you get in your career, the more common it is your coworkers all have some ailment (or care for someone with some ailment) that eats an afternoon on a regular schedule. It’s normal now.

    1. drinking Mello Yello*

      Seriously. While there are plenty of young people with chronic illnesses (OP and myself for example ), it is soooooo common for most people to start getting more health issues popping up as they age and their bodies get older and wear out and doesn’t totally implode their career to have to take an afternoon off every month or whatever for their various medical appointments.

      Even the crappiest jobs I’ve worked have been cool with people’s regular medical appointments for various reasons. There’s zero reason that monthly infusion appointments (Just Once A Month) would ever keep you, OP, from ever having a career. Like Precious Wentlewrap said, that’s sooooo the lowest stakes accomodation ever!

      Heck, I’ve had biweekly physical therapy appointments that each ate up half a day for a few months; employer didn’t care and worked with me on them. If a potential employer isn’t willing to accommodate you on something as low stakes (on their end) as a once monthly appointment, then that’s a huge red flag!

      That career advisor’s advice is so cartoonishly bad and wrong that I’m wondering if she’s actually worked anywhere else before. “No, no employer would ever accommodate a pretty standard accommodation that employers accommodate all the dang time. I will tell this to inexperienced people who don’t know better yet.” What the heck?

  12. Working with medical appointments and thriving*

    This is the most ridiculous advice I have ever heard. Good workplaces will have absolutely no issues with a once a month appointment. I have 3x a week medical appointments that I must attend or I will die. My workplace accommodated this by allowing me to change my work hours so I don’t even need to take leave. Please, please report this so called advisor. She doesn’t have a clue what she is talking about. Good luck in all your future endeavors!

  13. Matilda Jefferies*

    What the actual ableist hell is this? Never mind 9-5, is she honestly trying to tell you that having one medical appointment a month is going to disqualify you from literally all kinds of work, for the rest of your life? Like, there’s literally *nothing* you can do to earn a living??

    *writes and deletes several incoherent paragraphs of rage*

    1. Reba*

      This is SO UPSETTING. So ableist. The idea that any deviation from the “norm” of health and ability is totally disqualifying from work!

      And so nonsensical. The rationale of potential coworker resentment???

      And about that norm. The CDC says that 6 in 10 adult Americans have a chronic disease. SIX IN TEN.

      1. So they all rolled over and one fell out*

        I didn’t quite understand why this triggered so much rage until I read this comment. You put it very well.

      2. Alpacas Are Not Dairy Animals*

        Six in ten now! Given the overall aging population and what we’re learning about the aftereffects of COVID-19 infection, that’ll go up before it goes down.

    2. bluephone*

      Christ, is she advising students to never get pregnant one day (or be with someone who might) because an employer wouldn’t be cool with needing the occasional time off for OB-GYN appointments? To say nothing of maternity/paternity leave????
      Christ on a cracker, I can’t even with this lady.

      1. Reba*

        Wow, great (awful) point. Sheesh.

        In other news, this year is the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

      2. Gazebo Slayer*

        I bet she’d get along great with the “no, you can’t take care of your kids” employer from earlier.

    3. Aurion*

      And even healthy, able-bodied people can get sick, get injured, or care for someone who is sick and/or injured and thus require regular medical appointments!

      So, what, no one but perfectly able-bodied workers with no responsibilities or dependents can work, ever???

      Fire that woman. Out of a cannon.

      1. Mike*

        I just literally laughed out loud at your last line. The first chance I get, I am so stealing it.

      2. blackcat*

        When I got hired at my first job, the benefits guy made a joke about how they needed to hire more people like me (21, healthy, no dependents) to bring down health care costs.

        I promptly got a sports injury that required several thousand dollars of treatment (scans, injections, braces) followed by 12 weeks of weekly physical therapy.

        1. On a pale mouse*

          Hilarious. And by “hilarious” I actually mean “that ‘joke’ isn’t remotely funny.” What if he’d said it to someone who had an invisible disability or chronic condition?

          1. blackcat*

            The other young person they hired around the same time got pregnant during her first year on the job. So much for being “cheap.”

        2. Alexis Rose*

          I’m very sorry you suffered an injury, that sounds awful, and I certainly don’t want to make light of it at all.

          However I’m DEEPLY amused that this guys ableist/ageist nonsense was so thoroughly debunked. Do you think maybe he changed his views after this? (the worst part is that he probably didn’t. People like that are awful).

          1. blackcat*

            I have no idea.
            And I did find it funny!
            I’ve heard that actually early 20 somethings can be more expensive to insure precisely because of sports injuries and the like.

      3. Woah*

        No one can ever break an ankle, sprain a wrist, get in a car accident, or have a bad bout of the flu with this sort “counselor’s” mentality.

    4. Atalanta0jess*

      YES. This person should not be allowed to talk with young people about careers. This is SO ableist, SO discouraging, SO INCORRECT, and so utterly messed up that I just cannot even.

    5. Diamond*

      Right?? I mean apart from anything else, there’s no way you would qualify for disability on the basis of needing to leave early once a month (because… obviously you can still work). This lady has no clue how anything works!

  14. Lady Catherine de Bourgh*

    Just when I thought college career centers couldn’t get worse!

    If leaving early on Friday is a big problem, maybe you can go on your lunch hour? I have weekly appointments and was able to find a doctor close to my work and schedule the appointments on my lunch hour. Not an option for everyone in every place or job, of course, but for many jobs in public relations, it could well be possible.

    Also, please ignore every single bit of advice this insane person has told you.

    1. Elemeno P.*

      She said it made her sick, so that’s probably not an option for her. That said, leaving early once a month on Friday still won’t be a problem at any sane job.

      1. Anon Anon*

        And honestly, if I told any one of my employers that I tried to stick to Fridays because the treatment made me feel ill, and I wanted to miss as little work as possible, they’d all be thrilled and thank me for thinking of the organization.

        1. blackcat*

          I once got a remark from my boss (in my first job) when I needed to have a medical procedure and I scheduled it for the Friday before a long weekend. He sounded skeptical and I just looked at him and said “I am having outpatient surgery with a 3-4 day recovery time. If you’d prefer I schedule it for the Tuesday and then miss an entire week of work, I could do that, but I thought it would be better for everyone if I did it first thing Friday so I’d only miss one day.”
          He then realized he was being an ass and thanked me for not piling work on others at a busy time.

    2. Threeve*

      I would love a collection of the dumbest advice people have gotten from college career counselors.

      Mine was useless (“use LinkedIn, good luck, have a free pen”) but didn’t technically tell me anything wrong.

      1. That Girl From Quinn's House*

        I got, “There’s a binder of paper job listings in the waiting room, also try Monster,” and all of the papers in the binder were expired postings that had been faxed over or hand-written phone messages. Coffee and Cheeto stains abounded.

        This was 2007.

        1. Diahann Carroll*

          Omg, I got pretty much the same thing from my school’s co-op office – absolutely useless people.

        2. Lexica*

          I got roughly the same thing, but that was back in 1998. And yours was 2007? Good grief.

          1. JustaTech*

            I got the same thing in 2005 with the extra unkindness of “oh, biology? We don’t have much of that. Don’t you usually go to grad school?”

            Uh, I’m here because I didn’t get in to grad school, thanks for rubbing salt in that open wound.

        3. Amethystmoon*

          I went to college in a smaller town, think typical college town. They only had employment listings for things like fast food and local retail stores. Heaven forbid someone was a business-related major and wanted an actual office job.

      2. Uncivil Engineer*

        My university’s “career counselor” told me I needed to come up with a story about why my GPA was low or I wouldn’t get a job. The reason it was low was because I studied engineering at a top rated engineering school and wasn’t particularly good at theoretical word problems. I got a job. They didn’t ask about my GPA. And, it turns out actual engineering jobs in my field are nothing like what we study in school so my inability to solve a word problem was never an issue because I solve actual, existing problems just fine.

        Also, the “help” they provided finding a job was laughable. They only posted jobs for ~100 mile radius from the school and I had no intention of remaining in the area.

          1. EPLawyer*

            My career counsel for my masters — at the school that conferred the degree – told me 1) they didn’t offer that degree (well my diploma says otherwise) and 2) they can’t advise on getting government jobs. Because apparently an MA in international relations only qualified you for government jobs. This was 1998.

            1. EPLawyer*

              Oh and my law school in 2008 said they don’t help people get jobs with non-profits while offering a certificate program within the JD in public interest law. What the hell did they think people with that certificate did? Go work for biglaw and pray they represented a non-profit?

              1. drpuma*

                The only person who ever told me it was a BAD idea to get an MBA as well as a JD was the career counselor at my law school (circa 2011). Because “it would confuse people.” Maybe just her…

        1. gpa*

          Similar issue-“My GPA is low because I didn’t go out and get drunk with my professors” Weird shit sometimes happens that makes no sense on paper…

          1. PB*

            As tenure track faculty, this is making steam come out of my ears. Professionalism, terrible professors! Stop!!

            1. Quill*

              The only time I ever drank with a professor was when we sampled the microbiology class’ attempt at making alcohol.

              Commentary, via my professor “Well, it’s alcohol, so technically you all pass this lab. Unfortunately, it’s very BAD alcohol.”

        2. JimmyJab*

          I was also in engineering and in an honors program (more or less unrelated to one’s major) and my advisor suggested I take easier classes so I could get a higher GPA. Um, I had one elective a semester, sometimes. Yeesh.

      3. I know there are good ones out there, just wish I'd met them*

        Completely and utterly useless. First it was printouts tacked to a wall, then someone hired directly upon graduation, then a series of people who wanted to look like they knew what they were doing, but just handed it over to automated postings and called it a day. So many bad decisions and potential earnings lost because I had no idea what I was doing, and no way to find help. (All pre-internet and no clue where to start). No, I’m not angry…

      4. Former Young Lady*

        I had worked for a company that spun off my department into a separate entity with a new name, so I had “f/k/a” (formerly known as) in the company name field on my resume.

        My counselor told me she’d never heard of that abbreviation, and that it “looked dirty.” She said I should remove it.

        Nothing compared to the heap of BS our OP got served, but still absurd.

      5. 2e*

        My senior year of college I interned in a local government attorney’s office. To get credit for it, my college career center made me read a book called “You Majored in What?: Designing Your Path from College to Career” and meet with a counselor because, they reasoned, the internship was outside my major, so I had some explaining to do!

        I was a history major who planned to go to law school, so I did a legal internship while applying to law school. This is more a story about a silly career services department than a bad individual counselor, though, because when I explained the above to the counselor assigned to me he acknowledged that making me write a paper to explain how a legal internship related to my plan to become a lawyer was ridiculous.

        1. Paulina*

          Actually I kind of understand this. The internship worked well for your planned future studies, but the usual appropriateness test for a credited internship is whether it’s suitable experiential learning for the degree it’s credited toward. It was still ridiculous to ask you to put it in your career context, however.

      6. Batty Twerp*

        My only encounter with anything approaching a career advisor was when I was fifteen and choosing my A-Levels (I’m in the UK). Said career advice never actually touched on a career, concentrating entirely on “Well, what subjects are you are you good at and enjoying while doing GCSEs? Pick three of them.” I was an A student (except for CDT – I just couldn’t get the hang of woodwork), so it was a choice of 11. And then when I did pick I got a teacher who thought I was too stupid to do one of the chosen subjects – Maths. I’m now an accountant. Totally not where I thought I would be and still not the career of my dreams. I’m also nearly 40 and *working towards* my accounting degree, so my career path was more twisty turny than Spaghetti Junction.

        Also, for the record, Alison’s advice is not just US-centric. I’m struggling to think of a job in the UK that would be so restrictive as to stop you having a half-day once a month at the cost of your employment.

        1. Akcipitrokulo*

          My story isn’t the advisor… it was my guidance teacher.

          Career councellor there. I just finished my o-grades (Scotland). I asked councellor what I should take to get into medicine.

          Guidance teacher overheard, walked over to the table to interrupt and tell him not to give me that info as I wasn’t bright enough to be a doctor.

          1. Sharpie*

            Reminds me of the joke, ‘What do you call an MD who graduated at the bottom of her class?’


          2. Helena1*

            My school careers counsellor told me not to apply for med school but to become a nurse “and then you can marry a doctor”. This was in 1996. I went to med school.

        2. Sharpie*

          My careers teacher was just as useless. I went to a grammar school and they were pushing everyone to go to university. The bare handful of us that decided we were going straight into the workforce were basically told “You know where the careers library is and how to use it, good luck.”

          OP, this ‘advice’ wouldn’t fly in the UK either. Please report this advisor because who knows how many people she’s torpedoed!

        3. Paulina*

          So you could have picked three unrelated subjects that together would have qualified you for almost nothing? Wow, so much bad advice out there.

        4. ceiswyn*

          That sounds familiar. I was also an A student, and I had literally no idea what I wanted to do with my life. Our ‘careers advice’ was just… one of our history teachers, and a really simplistic computer program.

          Both asked the same things. What did I enjoy? Most things. What was I good at? Most things. I ended up doing a random assortment of subjects, including stupid decisions like giving up biology because it was so easy it bored me.

          I was in my mid-thirties by the time I realised that what I wanted was to study and teach palaeobiology. I did a whole new undergraduate degree (I went straight into a third year course on evolution with zero official biology background and aced it, which should give you some idea about quite how much my careers advice missed) and took time out from my career for an MSc, but I couldn’t get a precious funded PhD, so ended up going back to technical writing. Which I enjoy and am good at, but. Very much, BUT.

          1. ceiswyn*

            (And whoever mentioned upthread about random subject combinations? My A-Levels were English, History and Physics. Yeah.)

      7. starsaphire*

        “Oh,” (vague gesture around room full of books and binders, but completely bereft of computers) “you know that’s all done online these days, right?”


      8. KoiFeeder*

        Ooooh, I got an email from my college career services advising giving alcohol to male interviewers and chocolate to female interviewers! That’s a pretty exceptional one!

        1. Former Young Lady*


          That’s so many kinds of wrong I don’t even know which direction to point my screams.

          1. KoiFeeder*

            One sec, lemme go hunt down the original post I made about it (I think it was in an open thread?).

            That career center was pretty bad. I could tell multiple stories off of my one visit alone, and that’s after culling the unfunny parts.

              1. Former Young Lady*

                Oh. My. Crap. That really is one for the books.

                Now *I* want a drink, but I’m apparently the wrong gender. (Maybe I’m entitled to some of those delightful Anthon Berg booze-filled chocolate bottles? My Nana, God rest her, was a true lady, and she gave them to her friends before playing cards…without telling them what was inside.)

          1. KoiFeeder*

            It’s probably still in my email archives, but the reason I didn’t forward it to her is that the career center didn’t bcc anyone so there were like, a thousand or more email addresses I would have had to take out of the email before I shot it forwards and I am lazy.

      9. DyneinWalking*

        Not actual advice from any specific person, but as a teenager, I picked up the notion that chronic illness (mental in particular) would scare away employers.
        Being well aware that I HAD (well, still have) mental issues, the solution was clear: Pretend these issues don’t exist, don’t get treatment lest people find out.

        The result: …well, I have worked my way through school, bachelor and master to a position as a PhD student, so there’s that. But I definitely didn’t perform at my full potential, which made me terrified of failing so I basically had a burnout every semester, and I developed additional mental issues along the way. And wouldn’t you know, I eventually did succumb to getting treatment after all (fingers crossed that it works).

        I’d argue that being (openly) against giving people with medical issues employment is actually harmful for society. It does nothing to reduce the number of such people, but it is an excellent way to ensure that those who can will pretend to be alright… thereby forging treatment and accommodations that would improve their performance. I.e. you still have pretty much the same set of employees, only now some of them perform way worse. As for the ones who can’t hide… I have a feeling that the people being the most opposed to employing them are the same people who complain the most about social freeloaders who are just too lazy to work.

        And in regard to OP’s specific case – really? Missing out on half a day every month is a reason to never work at all? Seriously?!!! She’d rather have society pay for OPs entire living expenses for the rest of her life than let her miss a few work hours a month? I know you don’t get much on disability, but the expense of the few missed hours is still way cheaper!

        1. OwlStory*

          Wow, that’s familiar. I was diagnosed with ADHD at 6, my parents said it was made up and any documentation of it would make me unemployable, so it was ignored and untreated for 20 years. I’ve not only had two jobs, but they have been at well-regarded institutions. And one of them saw my medical records as a condition of employment (government).

      10. Lexica*

        Ooh, I’ve got one. I was a 27-year-old resuming student at the time. I had skipped my senior year of high school and got early admission at one of the University of California campuses, but took a break from college after freshman year when my mother was diagnosed with cancer. I did a couple of rounds of a year of school then a year of work, working long-term temp jobs in mostly admin positions, generally for tech companies. After Mom’s death I went back to school full time, figuring that if I took another break there was no way I’d be able to make myself finish.

        Midway through my senior year the career center did an event with a speaker who’d graduated five or six years previously, so she could give some insight into the working world and maybe some advice. During the Q&A I raised my hand, gave her the copy of my resume I’d brought (as requested), and briefly described my experience.

        “Well, once you’re on the admin track it’s pretty hard to get off it. Sorry. You might want to work on that,” was her advice before she moved on to the next person.

        Okay… so I’m a graduating senior with a political science degree and your advice is “sucks to be you, shouldn’t have worked those admin jobs”? Nice.

        The icing on the cake is that it was a women’s college.

        1. Observer*

          The icing on the cake is that it was a women’s college.

          That explains it right there. Because you weren’t a “good feminist” and you had the audacity to actually take time off to care for your mother and work at jobs that would let you do that. PROPER feminists don’t do that, apparently.

          People like this forget that being a decent human being is actually step one.

      11. Lady Catherine de Bourgh*

        This is a great idea!

        Mine told me that free email accounts like are unprofessional. This was in 2015.

        He also said the best way to get a job was to figure out what the company’s problems were and a way you can solve them, then stalk hiring managers by figuring out their email addresses and cold emailing them with a “pain point” letter.

        This was for an MBA, not even undergrad.

  15. Reed*

    I would like to point out that I have not one but TWO direct reports who need to leave early/arrive late every few weeks because medical appointments and it is NOT A PROBLEM.

  16. Daffy Duck*

    My company wouldn’t even blink twice at leaving for a medical appointment once a month. That counselor is off her rocker.

    1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      None of the people I’ve worked with would care. Especially those that had flex schedules. Oh no, you need to leave at 3 every last Friday of the month? That’s perfectly fine, just make up the couple hours or whatever during the week if you can.

      1. vampire physicist*

        That’s one of the things that’s throwing me. My current job has a decent amount of flexibility and I have coworkers who have standing medical appointments without issue but also…there are very standard office jobs with a 7:30-3:30 or 8-4 schedule anyway! Some jobs (notably publishing) still have summer Fridays where everyone leaves at 2 pm on Friday! There are probably people AT YOUR UNIVERSITY who work 10 hours Monday-Thursday with Fridays off or whatever. To say something like this isn’t just wrong – it’s outright baffling that anyone with office job experience would think this was true.

        1. Batty Twerp*

          Some jobs (notably publishing) still have summer Fridays where everyone leaves at 2 pm on Friday!
          Ah yes, POETS day!
          (P*ss Off Early, Tomorrow’s Saturday in case anyone hasn’t heard of it)

      2. Melissa*

        That’s what I was thinking when I read this letter. LOTS of my colleagues work 4 10s and never work on Fridays (or Mondays, or…). If any of them have medical appointments on those days, our employer never even has to know about them.

    2. Marzipan Shepherdess*

      Plus, companies today are well aware that employees may need to adjust their schedules to fulfill religious obligations and that they’re expected to accommodate that. Not to mention that NO ONE is guaranteed to be 100% illness-free all of his or her life, and that it simply makes good sense to work with employees to ensure that they can maintain their health. In fact, it’s not just a good idea – it’s the law!
      Alison is absolutely right; this advice is nutty as the proverbial fruitcake and should be shut down yesterday!

  17. Pepper Potts*

    This is so gross. Not only would it be permissible under the ADA, but like any half-way decent manager/company would be accommodating. Heck, at my workplace, a standing Friday appointment would be preferable as we work an adjusted workweek, so we get Friday afternoons off!

    OP, please please please report this conversation to higher-ups at your university. If they’re telling you this, I can’t imagine what they’re telling others. Report this so you can save others from this terrible advice.

  18. wowjustwow*

    This is insane. I have had 3 babies while I held my professional career. Working in retail to accounting and no one ever batted an eye at frequent doctors visits. I probably leave early one or twice a month myself just for fun (TBH), with managements permission. Sometimes they tell me to go home early. Most places are not archaic, and attached to the time clocks. People have lives, medical conditions, family etc. This is not unreasonable at all.

    1. Jane of all Trades*

      Agreed!! I take time off twice a month during the day for therapy. Some of my coworkers aren’t around on Friday afternoons for religious reasons.
      At a previous job I had to leave early sometimes to pursue my education – point being – plenty of people have flexibility at their job for reasons that, although important, are not the type of medical necessity you are experiencing, LW! I think in most jobs this would be just a matter of scheduling and communicating, so that people know when you’re not going to be around. Don’t let that weird counselor slow you down!

  19. Rainy*

    As someone who works in the field, OP, PLEASE PLEASE MAKE A HUGE STINK ABOUT THIS. Talk to this “career counselor”‘s supervisor (you’re looking for someone with a Director or AD title), and if you still don’t get any help, go to the Dean of Students. Other areas that can help you are your uni’s ombuds office, your own academic or program advisor, your department chair, or the Dean of your college.

    The office’s staff page will give you a direct email for the Director of your career services office, that’s where I would start. Escalate as needed. I am so, so sorry that this person gave you such awful advice, and if you have the spoons for it, please do your best to make sure that this person’s leadership knows so that they can address the obvious need for training this person is displaying.

    1. Retro*

      I second this. This is dangerous advice and can give college students a skewed view of what a healthy workplace is like and prevent them from seeking the necessary medical attention to manage their conditions because they’re afraid they’d lose their job. It’s important to know healthy boundaries and college career centers should be communicating them to the college students they serve.

      Iwent to an interview where the interviewer straight up said that I wasn’t the candidate they were looking for because I was a sophomore and basically shut down the interview and didn’t ask me any questions. I thought it was some type of mix-up and wasn’t looking to report it until I spoke with a friend who was a student career counselor and she said that the company absolutely did hire sophomores for internships. She found it really serious that an interviewer would flat out refuse to ask me any questions without offering some explanation as to why the mix-up had occured (We already filled the position or Someone in HR was supposed to call you to cancel the interview but it got missed or we had meant to screen out sophomore for this particular role but your resume wasn’t filtered out). Only then, did I have the courage to escalate this to our career center director. Luckily, the career center director was very understanding of how weird this experience all was and agreed that while it might have been due to a mix-up, it’s sucky to bring someone to an interview, tell them they’re not qualified, and send them on their merry way with the rejection.

      OP, if your career center has any care for the students, they will and should react swiftly to correct this jerky career counselor’s bad advice. If they don’t, then tell all your friends that they should be taking career advice from the career center as a whole with a grain of salt. As for this particular career counselor, they should be banished away to never counsel young adults again.

    2. AMT*

      Seconded. Also, many universities (especially bigger ones) have an office of student disability services or someone whose job it is to coordinate accessibility/accommodations/etc. This person might be a good resource. Just Google your college name along with “accessibility,” “disability,” or “section 504.”

  20. Granger Chase*

    In addition to reporting this to this counselor’s boss or department head, I would highly recommend also looping in whatever department at your school handles accommodations for students with disabilities. It may be called the RCPD (Resource Center for Persons with Disabilities) or similar. And an Office of Inclusion (or similar), if you have one on campus. They would want to check to see if she, or other counselors at your college, have been giving this same advice to other students who may need ADA-related accommodations at a future job.

    1. kristin*

      I’d bet she has. This reeks of ableism. It’s like she heard “medical condition” and decided LW is useless to society. No way she doesn’t give that “advice” to anyone else who isn’t perfectly abled.

    2. emmelemm*

      Yes, I’d say this is very important. If she simply recommends this to any student who has any kind of disability… the mind boggles

    3. drinking Mello Yello*

      Yeah, I was stuck between “Advisor has no idea what she’s talking about.” and “Advisor is trying to torpedo OP’s career because she thinks chronically ill and disabled people are icky.” Not that it truly matters; whatever the reasoning behind it, the result is still ableist garbage that could potentially ruin other students’ future careers.

    4. Sarah*

      Yes, please do this. It may also be called something like the Disability Resource Center.

      1. KoiFeeder*

        Mine was just called Student Services, which I think they changed to Student Support Services midway through one semester- they had particularly draconian paperwork and diagnostics requirements that made it difficult to get any accommodations, so we were calling them an unflattering acronym.

    1. Altair*

      Yeah. Not that I’m glad this student was given this asinine, bigoted advice, but Alison’s response is magnificent.

    2. willow for now*

      Yep, I visualize Alison jumping up from her computer, pacing and cursing, throwing her hands up in the air multiple times, then sighing deeply, telling herself to calm down, and sitting back down to type out her response. There was probably also some time spent on petting kitties and talking to them.

    3. Pomona Sprout*

      Enraged Alison is a thing of beauty! I love that she actually did is so many words that she was enraged.

      This thing deserves to go viral. Let’s post it on our social media and see if we can make it happen!

      1. Pomona Sprout*

        I, err, take that back. Going viral with something like this is only worthwhile with a named entity. While, imo, shaming could be fitting in this case, you can’t shame someone anonymously.

        I just hope the LW does report this AND let Alison contact the appropriate party or parties. And I really hope we get an update on what happens with all of that!

  21. queen b*

    Sometimes I leave early ONCE A WEEK for medical conditions and after the third or so time, my boss was like “hey you don’t need to tell me every time.” So the fact that this counselor thought it’d be unreasonable to do this? lmao goodbye

  22. WKA*

    Oh god, this is one of the most outrageous things I’ve ever read. I cannot emphasize just how tame the person’s requirements are, there are so many people that require more careee flexibility than this just to take their kids to soccer practice, let alone health concerns.

  23. ReadyNPC3*

    I once had a recruiter tell me that I would never work in an office because I’d never worked in an office and made the mistake of taking a summer job in customer service. So this kind of thinking doesn’t surprise me. I wonder if this career ‘advisor’ came from the recruiting field?

    1. Observer*

      That’s pretty insane right there, but this is waaaay worse.

      She’s an awful idiot and thinks that everyone is like her.

  24. Welcome to the Hellmouth*

    College career centers are the devil, I swear. My college promised 100 percent job place upon completion of a degree, which I stupidly believed. Once I graduated, my college career center sent me on one interview for a position that was already filled.

    1. Anon Anon*

      They are, but that is what happens when you hire people who’s only job experience is being a career counselor or being in academia. I think one of the job requirements for any career counselor is that they’ve had a career outside of academia.

    2. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      You were NOT stupid to believe them. Wipe that outta your mind.

      You were lied to. It makes sense to think these institutions that are supposed to get you ready for entering the workforce [or going further in the workforce], would tell you the truth.

      This kind of lie is to take advantage of your lack of knowledge and sell you on tens of thousands dollars of education.

      1. Amy Sly*

        And what’s really frustrating is that the courts side with these lying institutions. Thomas Cooley Law School wriggled out of a lawsuit because potential law students should be savvy enough not to believe placement rates and job salaries of graduates published by the school.

        Yes. It’s okay for a law school to lie because students are supposed to know better than to trust published figures. Try that line of reasoning in the stock market!

        1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

          Wait, what? We’re not supposed to believe published data? Just because they were on track to become an attorney? They probably don’t need to teach ethics or anything silly like that since just being on track to being a lawyer is enough…

          If someone does something reckless because “it didn’t tell me not to”, the company usually gets steamrollered and have to add warning stickers but not colleges? Classic bullshit.

    3. PollyQ*

      Even the best career center couldn’t guarantee 100% placement, so the other problem is that your college straight-up lied to you.

    4. Amethystmoon*

      They always promise that. Doesn’t matter that the job one is placed in might be flipping burgers.

  25. Diahann Carroll*

    Alison’s blistering rebuke of this idiot “counselor” was a thing of beauty, lol. I felt the rage through my screen.

    OP, Alison is right – this is not a thing. Many people with chronic health conditions work full time jobs just fine. I have a couple, and I’ve been working consistently for the past decade. I now work from home full time because I developed another chronic bladder/bowel condition that occasionally puts me in the bathroom for hours, and guess what? I’m thriving in my WFH career as well.

    You will be fine. Good managers will give you the time you need to take care of yourself and go to your appointments. You can mention the need for this after accepting your job offers if you’re concerned and negotiate the time off. Don’t listen to the “counselor” who clearly is now just phoning in her own job performance.

  26. AnotherAlison*

    Good lord. OP, do not let what misinformed idiot defer your career goals. Remember: Stephen Hawking had a career. The right employer fit is out there. I have a pretty standard job arrangement, and recurring appointments that various coworkers have had (PT, therapy, allergy shots, chemo, etc.) have never been something my company would not work around.

  27. Archaeopteryx*

    This would be horrendous enough in high school guidance counselor, but for a college one you’re paying through the nose for this mound of BS. Please report this and discourage other people from seeing this counselor.

    1. Quill*

      Honestly the high school ones may possibly have more success in some cases. They’re likely to have a greater grasp of the circumstances students are facing because colleges bias the sample size in favor of “able to obtain accomodations for courses,” and “can pay for this.”

  28. Alice's Tree*

    Alison, I love that you are willing to make that call for the OP. It would carry so much weight coming from you. Bless you for that!

  29. L Dub*

    Oh FFS. Not only is this person completely out of touch with professional norms, but disability benefits would never get approved for this. This person shouldn’t be giving advice on things like disability which they clearly know absolutely nothing about.

    1. Lyudie*

      That occurred to me too, you’d get a blank stare if you tried to get disability for a half-day off for injections once a month.

      OP you are fine, don’t even worry about it. This is super normal, bring it up when you get the offer and ask if there will be any issues (there almost certainly will not be). As others mentioned, some places will ask you to make up the time elsewhere in the week (over multiple days). Block the time on your calendar, let people know you are unavailable for those few hours, maybe let the boss know when you’re heading out (if they want, you can ask if they’d like you to mention in advance or the day of or whatever so they know). I see my therapist once a month and while my appointments don’t take as long as yours and I leave around 4:30, I have had four managers since I started therapy and not one of them has had any problem with it.

      1. Diahann Carroll*

        That occurred to me too, you’d get a blank stare if you tried to get disability for a half-day off for injections once a month.

        Right. My uncle, who suffered from schizophrenia almost his entire life, was denied for SSDI benefits twice before they finally approved him. Mind you, the two times he was denied, he had already been hospitalized several times and had many scary police encounters while having psychotic episodes while off his meds.

    2. Reba*

      Even people who DO qualify and really need it have a devil of a time actually getting disability. It’s common to be denied several times!

    3. Anon for This*

      Indeed! My husband is disabled (chronic pain and numbness in extremities), and it has been one big battle; we’ve had to get lawyers involved. Anyone who tries to claim disability because of needing injections once a month will get denied so fast it would make their head spin.

    4. Jemima Bond*

      I came to say the same thing. To be granted disability benefit you need to show that you Cannot Work – either at all or only with certain caveats eg you could only manage part time so you need some partial benefits to get by. The “counsellor” seems to suggest you should claim that the former is true, which you evidently couldn’t/wouldn’t want to do.

      Imagine the scene:
      LW: hello Mr/Ms benefits agency person, I’d like to apply for full disability benefit please.
      Benefits person: Ok let me take some details of the disability that prevents you from working.
      LW: I need to leave the office at half three the first Friday of every month, to have an injectiom
      Benefits person: HAHAHAHAHAHAHA get out of my office

  30. Acronyms Are Life (AAL)*

    Your college counselor is wrong. I take a Friday off every six weeks to get infusions for a chronic medical condition. I just put in my leave like everyone else. If I have worked enough hours in the pay period, I put in zero hours for the day, if I haven’t I do have to use leave (my sick and vacation leave are combined). Some of my close coworkers know I am out for a medical reason and some don’t. No one ‘gets jealous’ and management has zero problem with this. All they care about is knowing that I will be out and who they should contact in my stead for ‘work emergencies.’ Besides, people have vacation hours. How does this college counselor think people use them?

    1. Gazebo Slayer*

      She’s like “oh, but vacations are different” (because she hates people with disabilities).

      Or she doesn’t think people should take vacations either, because she’s one of those people who thinks we should all be perfect super-productive capitalist robots all the time. (You see disgusting thinkpieces like this now and then on LinkedIn from executive “thought leaders.”)

      Or maybe a little of both.

      1. Quill*

        If you label someone a “thought leader” I’m convinced that they neither lead, nor think.

          1. Quill*

            I’m apprenticing in wordsmithery in my spare time (the part that isn’t devoted to teaching a village of otters Latin.)

    2. Paulina*

      In jobs where coverage is an issue, using vacation time to get long weekends could be something that needs to be distributed fairly among those who want to do it. But what’s being discussed is a medical need, once a month isn’t often, and many workplaces don’t need full coverage, especially the level of job that the OP would likely be going after.

      I find the counselor’s insistence that coworkers would resent the OP to be quite telling, that she has that attitude herself; she’s so self-centred that, as far as she’s concerned, anyone who might need consideration that could interfere with her own entitlement should just go away.

      1. Observer*

        I find the counselor’s insistence that coworkers would resent the OP to be quite telling, that she has that attitude herself;

        Very much this.

      2. JustaTech*

        I’ve had this happen exactly once: a coworker with a very early schedule (Shelly) was complaining about how a coworker with a very late schedule (Bob) was never in the office. Now, Shelly never liked Bob at all (I have no idea how he felt about her) and after one mess up on his part Shelly never wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt. But when I pointed out that while Bob often didn’t show up until noon, he often was in the office past 6, and we all knew he did WFH in the morning, Shelly never complained about Bob’s hours again.

        And Shelly also never complained about anyone else who worked a not-exactly 8-4 schedule. It was just something to be mad at Bob about.

        So maybe, just maybe, if a coworker has an irrational dislike of the OP, they might whine about OP leaving early once a month. But far, far more likely is that even someone who doesn’t like the OP simply would not notice.

  31. MuseumChick*

    PLEASE REPORT THIS PERSON. That some straight-up ableist BS. Here is what I would do, send a poliet but firm email to the person supervisor that reads something like:

    Subject: Concerning session with (name of the person)

    Dear Mr./Ms. (Name).

    I’m contacting you regarding a very concerning session I had with (first name last name) on (date). As we were discussing my future career I mentioned that I have a medical condition (insert as many details as you are comfortable with). I was shocked, hurted, and angered when (first name) told them that I should completely give up working and simply apply for disability. She explicitly stated (insert quote). You can imagine how horrified I was fto discover such advice was being given to students with disabilities. I wanted to bring this to your attention so it can be handled appropriately.

    If they do not respond appropriately, as others have said, escalate it.

    1. HannahS*

      Yep, I agree, and I think this letter is a great place to start, OP. I received accommodation for medical issues during university AND IN MEDICAL SCHOOL, and am entitled to continue receiving them while working in a hospital, during a pandemic. This is some weird ableism coming out and I urge you to talk to the disability office about it, or the ombudsperson. It’s really, really bad, and believe me, there’s someone in the administration who would really want to know that this is happening.

    2. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Too soft. It needs to explicitly call out the ableism and the demonstrably wrong-headedness of the advice. She should feel free to link to this column as well.

      1. Bob*

        This is a great idea, this college will not be too happy knowing whats being said about them online. If they read your advice and a few of the replies that counselor is not going to know what hit them.

      2. anonymous 5*

        I’d send it to the alum association too, or a version of it…not only might the alums make a sufficient stink with their wallets, but they also might (hopefully?) take up the call to offer current undergrads networking and guidance opportunities with alums in various fields. Hopefully.

        1. Environmental Compliance*

          I would be FURIOUS if I found out either of my alma maters was distributing this absolute bullshit. It wouldn’t even be a vote with my wallet, it’d be a very, very pointed phone call in to the Dean and the heads of Career Counseling Centers.

          Flames. Flames on the side of my face.

        2. JustaTech*

          Ooh, or, depending on your school, the Parent’s Organization.

          Good lord, if the parent’s email list of my undergrad had heard about this they would have crashed all our email servers with furious letters to every Chair, Dean and the president.

          Yes, no one wants to have to bring their parents in for backup just as they’re about to launch into the adult world. But most parents, especially ones who have been helping pay for college, would be incensed at this treatment of their student.

      3. I coulda been a lawyer*

        Have you ever considered trying to get your blog (or some version of it) published in college newsletters? Or even alumni magazines? I personally rarely turn down a legal source of revenue and you would definitely be providing a public service. Just a thought.

      4. Atalanta0jess*

        Yes, this advice has the potential to do long term harm, on a couple of different levels.

      5. Working Hypothesis*

        Alison, please, PLEASE find out from the LW who this is and where, and report it yourself!! Students’ complaints get pretty much nowhere against staff because they’re assumed to be young and naive and just don’t understand. If YOU throw a blistering letter in their direction, it will get attention in a way the student could never do on their own. Please go back to the LW privately and ask for the information and follow it up yourself, for the sake of all the other students who might have their lives derailed by this ablist jackass.

        1. Prof. Space Cadet*

          I’m a professor. I wrote a post (now far downthread) with detailed advice on how the student should word the complaint and detailed advice on where to send it.

          1. Working Hypothesis*

            Thank you, Professor! I’m really glad somebody with the experience to know exactly how to frame it in that particular environment did that, and I really hope the LW sees it and follows your advice. I still hope Alison also writes, because sometimes the publicity of involving a media figure can shame people into taking action they otherwise wouldn’t, and I want to use every possible tool we’ve got to kick this ablist jackass from here to Halifax (except that wouldn’t be fair to the people of Halifax). But I’m glad that, whatever Alison does or doesn’t do, LW already has your good advice on what they can do to advocate for themself.

      6. Donkey Hotey*

        That was a thing of beauty, Alison.

        I, for one, would pay cash money to hear a podcast of Our Ms. Green recording her original letter at volume, with emphasis. More if it was a phone call to the counselor. I mean, some idiot just gave me $1,200, I may as well use it for something good.

      7. Not So NewReader*

        Alison, there is a huge need out there for training not only college counselors but counselors at some departments of labor.

    3. Reba*

      This is professional in tone, but I agree with Alison that it can be stronger.

      Instead of talking about the emotional impact (shocked, hurt, horrified) it needs to use words like:
      wildly inaccurate
      goes against the universities policies on inclusion (or whatever jargon)
      ableist and harmful to students with disabilities

      In fact this counselor shouldn’t be counseling any student, regardless of their health status, since they don’t know what they are talking about.

  32. IndustriousLabRat*

    What in the actual WHAT!?
    One of the floor technicians here has to go for monthly infusions! No one bats an eye! They’ve accommodated him by giving him a bit of flex time so he can work his 40 hours, plus even get in some overtime if he wants it, and then scoot out early on a Friday here and there! He’s still getting regular promotions as well. Chronic illness has not hampered his career in the slightest. Oh and he’s not even alone! One of my department managers has biweekly doc appointments that have him vanish for 2-3 hours during the day! No one cares! And this is in a high stress manufacturing environment working for a company that is notorious for being sticklers about timekeeping; as in, punch in at 7:01 more than 3 x a YEAR and it’s a writeup. So if doc visits get no pushback here… I can’t even… WHAT!!!!!! There are laws to specifically protect workers in your situation! That counselor needs to drink a big glass of silence. And if anyone should be unemployed in this situation, it ain’t you, my friend!

  33. Bob*

    You would never never meet the criteria for disability, as you are able to work and this is but a small accommodation. People who legitimately cannot work often spend years applying and appealing and reapplying and consulting lawyers and building up medical evidence and defending themselves at hearings just to prove they can’t work even when they can easily demonstrate they are unable to function well enough to earn a living.
    You are not in this boat.
    This career counselor needs some serious retraining or dismissal if they refuse to learn. If you are able escalate this and stay on top of it until its properly handled, as they could seriously harm every disabled person they advise.

    1. I'm just here for the cats*

      Not to mention that the amount a person gets on disability is dismal at best. My aunt is on disability and she can hardly get by, has to go to food shelf, etc. Its not something you should be telling someone who just took 4 years of college withrobably $40000 in debt.

      1. Bob*

        Very true. The rates are meant to keep you starving. The philosophy seems to be to starve you into not longer being disabled.
        I assume food shelf is your local terminology for food bank?
        And you also make another good point, if the OP can finish college then the disability adjudicator will use that as evidence that they are certainly not disabled.

        1. Gazebo Slayer*

          “starve you into no longer being disabled”

          Yep. A great summary of this country’s mentality.

      2. Diahann Carroll*

        Yeah, the only way my uncle was able to survive on his benefits was by marrying my aunt, who had a decent paying job in the medical field.

        1. KoiFeeder*

          Don’t you lose benefits once you get married, at least in the US? Even if you’re marrying someone who is also on disability.

    2. Keymaster of Gozer*

      I’ve had the fun ‘well, if you’re able to contest our decision then you’re obviously not disabled at all!’ crud in the past when I really was so bad I couldn’t leave the bed, let alone the house.

      One of my friends showed up to his meeting with the benefits people and despite the meeting being mandatory for getting benefits (no, you can’t phone in) they said if he was there then his depression was obviously not severe and thus he could go get a job.

      Government agencies in the UK are petty.

  34. Third or Nothing!*


    OP, no, this is not in any way reasonable or to be expected from the working world. To put it into perspective, I used to volunteer on a human trafficking task force that had a monthly hour-long lunch and learn session (so really 90-100 minutes after you take the commute into account). I asked my boss if he’d be OK with me attending them as long as I stayed late to finish up anything that needed to be done, and HE WAS TOTALLY FINE WITH IT. And that’s just for a personal passion, not a legitimate medical condition (which, by the way, I also have and haven’t gotten any crap from needing to go to monthly medical appointments).

    I suppose the nature of PR might be to always be on call and always available, but if that’s the case then you’d simply offer to get to work earlier those days or be available through email for emergencies. There is no reason why a regularly scheduled monthly medical appointment can’t be accommodated, especially since you’d have plenty of notice to work around it!

  35. Ali G*

    One Friday a month? That is nothing. I used to go into work almost 2 hours late every Thursday for a standing appointment (I’ve gone down to every other week, and with WFH, it’s just an hour now). Most of your coworkers won’t even notice!
    This person is downright dangerous.
    This is so outside the norm I’m flabbergasted. If I wanted to hire you and you told me after I made you an offer that you needed to leave a few hours early one day a month for a standing medical appointment, the only thing I would want to do was to make sure you were able to make those hours up that week (so you wouldn’t have to use leave, unless you wanted to). That’s it!

  36. Seal*

    Ridiculous advice on the part of this so-called career counselor. When I started my current job a few years ago I was recovering from rotator cuff surgery and had to go to PT at least twice a week for my first month and weekly for another few months after that. No one at my new job batted an eye – not my boss, not my colleagues, not my direct reports. The only issue was that because I was new I hadn’t accrued any sick or annual leave, so I had to make up the time I was out for PT by coming early, staying late, or skipping lunch. And even then, my boss left it entirely up to me as to how and when I would make up the time.

    I also have an autoimmune issue which requires regular visits to several doctors, especially if things flare up. Again, no one cares if I need to take time off for doctor’s visits, or take the occasional day off if my meds make me ill. People with jobs get sick. People with jobs have chronic conditions. People with jobs get injured. That’s life!

    Honestly, report this idiot career counselor to your college. Their advice is not only useless, it’s actively harmful.

  37. Cordoba*

    The college I went to had the wild notion of hiring career counselors who had worked in the corporate world for years, and who maintained regular contact with employers to see how their needs and hiring practices changed over time.

    Their advice was not only practical and relevant and helpful in actually getting a job; it was a real service to students from backgrounds where they had not been exposed to the nuts and bolts of profession job hunting and perhaps did not have anybody else who could explain it to them

    It’s amazing to me that all colleges don’t do this. Who are the people who are filling these jobs at other places? Where do they come from? Maybe I should apply to be a career counselor; I don’t think I could do it any worse.

    To the LW, please ignore this advice and any other recommendations coming from the same person.

    1. Anon Anon*

      This is what every single college should be doing.

      From what I can gather from a friends who work in academia, they look for people who have experience in student affairs and/or a career counseling background. I can’t think of a more useless background for that type of role. It’s only really applicable to those students who want to work in academia.

      1. Something Something Whomp Whomp*

        It’s only really applicable to those students who want to work in academia.

        Not even, sometimes! I’ve worked in higher ed on and off and my undergrad alma mater’s career advising would have never pointed me towards the kind of job I have, largely because of my majors.

    2. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      When I heard that there were career counselors as a job, I always assumed that they’d be you know…educated and have experience. But then I heard the advice they were handing out.

      I’m so relieved at least one college is doing it right. Sadly to change the perspective and scope of these kind of academia cultures is hard AF to change I’ve heard but I hold a little hope just knowing your college did it right!

      1. Cordoba*

        I think it was because the school is *very* industry focused engineering college, to the point that as undergrads we’d joke about it being a 4-year trade school.

        They explicitly embrace the idea that the students are there to get a degree in order to then get a job and get paid; it’s one of their main recruiting points. All the support functions, to include career counseling, are set up to further this goal.

        I don’t think all colleges can (or should) be this employment-focused, but it does seem like career offices generally could stand to have a bit more connection with what the non-academic working world actually looks like.

        1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

          Oh I agree. I don’t think it’s possible for universities to be all career focused because so much of the course work isn’t career geared. That’s for sure!

          But it’s seriously not too much to ask that those giving the actual “career” advice be properly experienced in the current career requirements and trends. There are plenty of people who would fit that criteria and do well at the job.

          But I know it’s hard to change things that are ingrained within the culture of academia. You can’t just change things on a base level, you have to claw your way up into the right ears and get the balls rolling.

    3. AnotherAlison*

      I don’t think you must have industry experience. To get someone who has hiring experience in engineering (my field), you would be paying the career counselor what an associate professor in engineering earns. I doubt they have budget in the careers office for that, and real-world info from other careers isn’t going to be much better than what ever the academic counselor dreams up.

      That said, require the career counselors to maintain industry relationships or something that gets them out of their bubble. I’m sure even my real world experience would be out of sync with current practices if I switched over to career counseling 10 years ago and did nothing to make sure I was staying current.

      1. Cordoba*

        I agree that they don’t need to be domain experts in the specific field that the student is majoring in, but having general experience in the same overall class of human endeavor would probably be helpful.

        I am also in engineering. I fully expect that any of the non-technical administrative or HR folks I work with will likely have a *much* better understanding of corporate norms and practices than somebody with a purely academic background. They could likely even give useful guidance to non-engineering students, because they know what the for-profit working world looks like generally.

        They would certainly know that any reasonable employer will accommodate one-a-month medical appointments without batting an eye, and could advise students accordingly.

        1. AnotherAlison*

          Good point about HR or other non-tech staff. I was considering only the engineers, obv, and didn’t go there in my head. With my university already running lean and undertaking another 25% budget cut this year, it seemed unlikely they could hire higher wage people.

          One thing my alma mater does do that’s semi-related is hire professors of practice. I don’t know if that’s common or not, but they are non-tenured faculty who have come to the university from industry. They teach and do not do research. It’s also another resource for students to learn about industry norms outside of the careers office. In my former dept, the PoP runs the senior project class and has a lot of ongoing contact with industry to sponsor projects.

          1. Amy Sly*

            That’s what adjuncts are supposed to be, instead of Ph.D students/graduates with no experience outside academia. I loved my law school adjuncts who could actually tell you how things worked in practice.

  38. Run Shaker*

    WTH! Please report this “career” advisor. Also some large corporate offices even have medical clinics. Not saying they could/would be able to administer your shots but employers recognize the need to offer perks to their employees (wasn’t a requirement to visit office clinic). My employer has a clinic & I used to go once a week for medical appointment. My other employers were very understanding when I had to leave early.

    1. B**** in the corner of the poster*

      Yes, my federal office has a nurses office where we can get flu shots or other things.

  39. B**** in the corner of the poster*

    OP i’m angry on your behalf. I had a medical issue where I had to leave early once a week for about a year. It was never an issue. Please don’t listen to that counselor.

    1. Trek*

      And from watching people go through something similar I could see it on their face when we were in the middle of something interesting/fun that the last thing they wanted to do was to leave for yet another treatment or appointment. And yet they had no choice. For someone to tell them they shouldn’t be working at all because of it would have been so wrong.

  40. Greengirl*

    If your university has an office offering services to disabled students you need to report this person to them. This person should not be giving career advice to disabled students.

    1. WoodswomanWrites*

      This is an excellent suggestion. Reporting the person to the staff that assists students with disabilities will make sure action is taken. If your university doesn’t have a dedicated team for this purpose, I would elevate this to whatever department of student services exists. I am less confident anything substantial would be done if the person is reported only to management at the career counseling center.

      OP, I hope you will send an update on this. And good luck with your future career!

    2. RagingADHD*

      She shouldn’t give career counseling to anybody, because she doesn’t understand basic realities about working.

    3. Federal Blue Collar*

      Yes. But more generally. That person shouldn’t be giving career advise to used tissues.

      30 years ago (in a career exclusively of hourly waged work), I was allowed to leave work once a week to get allergy shots. Nobody ever gave me the least hassle about it. And again, my career has been as a worker drone (and I love it). The very idea that a once-a-month medical appointment would rule out ever working at all is ridiculous. Has the “career counselor” ever had a real job?

  41. Kate*

    This is absurd. Please report this person – you’ll be doing so many students a favor, especially those afraid to speak up. In most offices I’ve been in, you simply adjust your schedule for this kind of thing. Maybe you work 9 hours a day that week, 6am-2Pm that day, etc. Millions of people manage to work full time and adjust their schedule whether it be for weekly counseling, picking the kids up after school, getting allergy shots, physical therapy, and all the many things that are just part of our lives. It might be uncomfortable and nerve-wracking to ask for this, but just remember you aren’t alone in this and have all of us hear rooting for you!!! While it depends on the type of job, In my experience managers just care that you work hard and get the work done well. And as a manager, this is a small accommodation I’d be happy to provide to create a positive work atmosphere and engaged employees.

    1. PollyQ*

      Not to mention the students who don’t know there’s anything wrong with her advice!

  42. Fancy Owl*

    What the heck is up with this career counselor? Does she work in an office where they don’t let people take time off once a month?! OP, this definitely won’t prevent you from getting a job. The only things to consider are maybe looking for jobs with companies that offer flexible scheduling so that you don’t have to use as much sick leave for your appointments. And if you’re in the US and you want to keep going to the same doctor, make sure your company offers an insurance plan your doctor accepts.

    1. Something Something Whomp Whomp*

      I really wonder if the career counsellor is looking at this through a union rules/seniority affecting PTO lens, or whether they’re just at the BEC stage with a colleague who manages a chronic health condition.

  43. SMH*

    As a manager of an employee that needs half a day off once every 4-5 weeks for medical reasons and will need to for the rest of her life, I can tell you without a doubt leaving an hour or two early once a month is not a big deal. The reason why is because she is a dedicated professional that rarely calls off, is very knowledgeable about our field, and is a very hard worker. Her coworkers also do not resent her so I don’t think that will happen to you either. There is no way it would be reasonable for her to be on disability vs contributing in such a big way to her team and our department.
    I would however wait until you have an offer and then explain that because of a medical condition you will need to leave early once a month to receive treatment. You can work with your manager to see if there is a week that is not as impacted by your leaving early, such as 3rd week of the month is very slow so aim for that week type thing but really you won’t be the only one that needs accommodation on this small of a scale.

  44. Something Something Whomp Whomp*

    This is probably going to get trapped in moderation anyway, but OP, I want to say that I’m really, really sorry that you were given such off-base information by someone who’s supposed to provide you with informed guidance. It’s bad not just because it’s wrong, but hearing things like this might make you feel really terrible about your medical condition, or like an inherently bad employee for taking care of your health. Early on in your career, it can be really damaging to hear these kinds of messages because they can lead you to not being assertive with employers about getting the (honestly quite minor) accommodations you need.

    In many white-collar jobs, the workarounds needed for your appointments will be no big deal, and your company might have a standing policy for flex time that can help. Sure, in some workplaces there might be a pile of paperwork required to get to your appointments, and in some *toxic* ones your manager and/or colleagues might have an issue with it on some level. That said, workplaces employ adults who tend to have stuff going on at some point in their lives that requires needing time away from work.

    Ignore your career counsellor and keep job searching, but be upfront about what you need in terms of appointment time when you get your offer. Then after that, focus on being a good employee and building good relationships at work. Chances are things will be okay, and if they’re not, you will figure it out pretty quickly enough to make your next move.

  45. nnn*

    Added to everything Allison and everyone has said, I don’t know from public relations specifically, but there are many jobs in many fields where your work hours won’t be 9-5 Monday to Friday! Even in fields where most jobs are 9-5 M-F, there are some that work a different schedule because they need coverage evenings or weekends or in different time zones!

    (Which isn’t to say that one medical appointment a month is in any way unreasonable, of course, but rather that it’s ridiculous to tell someone they’re unemployable when they may well end up with a work schedule that doesn’t perfectly overlap the doctor’s schedule!)

  46. The Man, Becky Lynch*

    This person needs to be fired, she’s a complete failure at her job.

    She doesn’t even know that disability will NOT accept you as “Unable to work” because you can work, you just need to LEAVE EARLY one day a month. Leave….early…not even miss a full day. This is so asinine that I’m starting to shake a bit. I’m so sorry she put this bullshit in your head and glad you wrote in. She. Is. A. Moron.

    1. beanie gee*

      I cannot even imagine the other kinds of “advice” this person is giving other students. This person should absolutely be fired over this.

      OP, please find a way to report this person before they ruin careers.

      You will be absolutely fine waiting until after you accept an offer to disclose your appointment requirements. Check your sick leave benefits when they send you an offer and try to get a sense for schedule flexibilities during the interviews, but you’ll be fine.

      1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

        She hasn’t even heard of a thing called the ADA, I wonder if she tells students to “offer to work for free” to get in the door. She sounds like someone who simply doesn’t understand a damn thing about how general employment works.

        I have only hate in my heart towards this kind of person. They’re actively damaging our next generation.

        1. Victoria*

          Gumption will get you the job! Hang out in the lobby! Find the person with power and camp out in his/her office! They will hire you because of gumption!

  47. Dezzi*


    Having a doctor’s appointment once a month will make you unemployable and you should just go on SSI???? What the ACTUAL F**** is this “career counselor” smoking?!?!? There have been a lot of posts here that have made me angry, but none of them have ever made me foam at the mouth quite as much as this one. Who the HELL is letting this woman advise students, never mind (presumably) paying her to do so?

  48. NotMonkeyNotMyCircus*

    I hate bringing this up, but OP what is the race of the career counsellor and what is the race of the person seeking advice? Also, OP what is your gender?

    1. Observer*

      No. Ableism? Possibly. Derangement? Also possible. Being stuck in an alternate universe of her own creation? Highly likely? But (with the exception of the one suggestion about hormone shots for transgender) there really is no way to squeeze this into a lens og gender or race.

      And, really, who cares? This is insanely and malevolently bad advice for anyone and needs to stop.

      1. NotMonkeyNotMyCircus*

        I agree this is terrible advice all round. Regardless. But what I was trying to get at by raising it, is that career counselors and guidance counselors as well, have historically been more encouraging to white and male aspirations, and discouraging to people of color and to women. When I was in grade 1 we had to do a portrait of ourselves in 20 years in the career/job we were going to be in. I distinctly remember the teacher telling the boys that they could be doctors, firemen and policemen. To the girls we could be teachers or nurses. To people of different shades, including me, I could be a mom. I was in the top of the class for math, could do multiplication in grade 1, could read and write, and my value to society, according to my teacher, was in my future, I could be a mom. So I painted a picture of me holding a turkey I had cooked, cause isn’t that what moms do? This thinking hasn’t magically disappeared in the years, it is just more subtle and sometimes when you are not the victim of it, you don’t see it, and sometimes you don’t want to see it. Maybe I am totally wrong in this case, but it doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. The limited studies out there show how black and brown kids are not encouraged at the same rate as white kids to apply to university from their high schools. Just because it may or may not exist in this scenario, doesn’t mean we can’t consider if it is a factor here. Every. Single. Interaction. That people have is influenced by their own gender, their own race, their own experiences, and the gender and the race of the person they are interacting with. Just because it makes us uncomfortable to talk about it, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t talk about it. We need to be open to having these conversations in order for change to happen.

  49. NerdyKris*

    What is this person’s daily routine like that leaving early once a month is “Give up on life territory”? I’m surprised they’re even holding down a job if what it takes to give up is so low. I’d have expected them to hit heavy traffic once and immediately quit over the phone by now.

      1. Zephyrine*

        “my coworkers would just get jealous and resent me“

        Ah yes, because surely all your coworkers will ALSO want to get a series of shots that makes them violently ill!

        Oh wait…

        I hope this terrible excuse for a career counselor gets fired.

  50. Captain Kirk*


    OP, I have a chronic medical condition which I have various appointments and injections for. Even at my CrazyJob, it hasn’t been an issue getting time off for medical appointments.

  51. Jaybeetee*

    The career counselor has a job. As a career counselor. Would her employer (the college) not hire people with a monthly medical appointment, or refuse to accommodate an existing employee who needed to start such a regimen? Never mind that that would be illegal in most countries. Where on earth did she come up with that?

    1. Insert Clever Name Here*

      Career Counselor would be super jealous that Perfectly Capable Person With Severe Allergies needs to leave an hour early to get a shot. *shakes fist at sky in fury over the unfairness of the situation*

  52. Ms. Chanadalar Bong*

    OP, I work in a university setting (in PR, ironically), and Alison could not be more right here. Scream this from the rooftops. Reach out to your university’s Accessibility/Human Rights and Equity office. I’m willing to bet the President’s Office at your institution has some kind of ombudsman type form – see if you can find it. Reach out to your student government body. Reach out to your campus newspaper if you have to. Other people have gotten this advice and accepted it as true. If you have the willingness to speak up, it could prevent others from hearing that terrible advice.

  53. insert pun here*

    OP, I hire entry level and near-entry level folks, and even in my most toxic workplaces, none of my colleagues would have blinked an eye at this. As Alison notes, it is a legal requirement, but also… it’s just not that big of a deal.

    If you’re currently enrolled and have an on-campus job, try talking to your supervisor about what’s normal, expected, etc. Academia and academic hiring certainly has its quirks, but you’ll likely get a better idea of what to expect out of the workplace (generally) from that person than from your career center. (I used to supervise student employees and was always happy to do this, as were my coworkers.)

  54. AliceBD*

    Letter writer this is RIDICULOUS advice! I had a similar thing for several years of leaving early one Friday a month to get injections (in my case that medication ended up not being the right one for me so it wasn’t forever but it easily could have been) and literally no one in my office cared! They knew I was leaving for medical reasons and no one thought anything of it or was upset or anything. I just told my boss what needed to happen and she said that sounds fine, and then I would block that time on my calendar so other people wouldn’t schedule me in meetings then. Never an issue!

  55. Half April Ludgate, Half Leslie Knope*

    As someone working in the PR department of a hospital, with a 10+ year career in the field, OP, this is NOT TRUE. I have colleagues who have to leave early regularly for child care, doctor’s appointments, or even stuff they don’t mention, and no one cares. Some have even built that in to their schedule, and just flex their hours to adjust.

    This is a good point to discuss in job interviews, though – their policy on using PTO for regular appointments or small things that might pop up, or if they do flex scheduling. In most places I’ve worked, doctor’s appointments are considered something we can just make up later – especially in PR, where some days last longer than others due to client conversations, events, etc.

    I hope you’re encouraged by the reaction on this site – there’s no reason to stamp out your dreams because you have a chronic condition!

  56. Shenandoah*

    wowowowow. Bonkers advice from that “career counselor”.

    OP, I hope all the rage on your behalf here in the comments and from Alison really hammers home that it is EXTREMELY unlikely for this to be a thing that causes you any work issues. If you are an otherwise good coworker, I doubt your colleagues will even notice, let alone resent you. I am certain that my everyone in my company has left early on a Friday at least 6-12 times a year.

    I hope you find an awesome job!

  57. Sir Freelancelot*

    I’m not only enraged for the ridiculous response this “counsellor” gave to OP, but also thinking about all the students that received similar, wholly horrifying advice like this one, and find;t have an Alison giving them the right suggestion. How many people has this counsellor damaged? Please, OP, report them or accept Alison’s offer about reporting them, because this person needs to be stopped. If you don’t mind, keep us posted!

  58. Myrin*

    I love the letters where you can practically feel the rage coming from Alison all throughout her answers.

  59. Sir Freelancelot*

    and find;t have an Alison giving them the right suggestion> and didn’t have an Alison giving them the right suggestion.

  60. Damn it, Hardison!*

    As a manager, I wouldn’t bat an eye at your request to leave early once a month, and if any coworkers complained, I’d shut that right down. Don’t let the advice of this clearly terrible career counselor deter you from pursuing any career or position that interests you.

    1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      Right? If someone was complaining that Vivian gets to leave early once a month, I’d squash it. And then I’d start considering the person who’s complaining as an issue, tbh. Who complains about this?

      Now if it were to actually impede someone’s job that Vivian can’t be there all day on Friday, I’d be okay with it and we’d find a work around. Since one person’s absence should never truly impede others. Is it something that can be put off until Monday? who is Vivian’s backup? How do we fix this snag in the system?

      But just “Waaaaaah not faaaaaaaaair.” I’m going to be thinking but naturally not saying it “It’s not fair…that Vivian spends an entire weekend knocked the heck out because of their condition…a couple hours off work once a month is not a luxury ffs.”

  61. PRlady*

    Just to add another voice—I work in PR and often in crises communications. This would be totally fine!!! Especially since it would be scheduled ahead of time and someone could cover for you if a reporter called or a client needed something urgent. UGH I CAN’T BELIEVE YOU RECEIVED THIS ADVICE.

  62. RedinSC*

    I’m going to repeat what others have said here, as a manager this is NOT something that would 1. prevent me from hiring you, and 2. be a problem with staff.

    The advice you got was terrible. Sorry about that. GOod luck with your job search!

  63. Gimble*

    Other commenters have this covered, but just for another data point… I manage someone who’s out for a regular medical thing a few hours a week, plus other appointments and procedures a couple times a month. And it’s fine. They flex their hours or use sick time as needed, and just keep me apprised of their schedule. I don’t care, my boss doesn’t care, and our coworkers certainly don’t resent it(!). It is so not an issue, and your medical schedule is even less of one.
    I’m sorry this so-called counselor worried you.

  64. Spreadsheets and Books*

    I work in NYC, a city known for its large Jewish population. Since I moved here, I have had many Jewish coworkers who strictly observed the Sabbath and required special accommodation to leave early on Fridays to get home before sundown. Never once did anyone pass judgment on a need to leave early, and that was on a weekly basis, not monthly. I never once felt like it was unfair to me that I didn’t get to leave early on Friday and other people did.

    And another anecdote… My brother works in marketing and is in a clinical trial for a cancer treatment. He has to take a full day off every eight weeks for an MRI and infusion treatments. No one cares.

    1. Aeryn Sun*

      Agreed. This career counselor is insane. I live in Georgia and work for a company where having coverage is important and last year, we hired someone who needed to leave early every Friday to attend mosque services and we also didn’t bat an eye, just set up an alternate schedule where he worked later on Tuesdays and went on.

      I’ve also myself worked in libraries where I either worked Sundays and thus got Fridays off or worked according to an established schedule where I worked 44 hours one week and 36 hours the next and thus got every other Friday off. And both times, my bosses told me it was fine to have medical appointments on sat, Thursday if I couldn’t get an appointment when I was already off on Friday.

  65. bluephone*

    “If you give me their contact info, I’d be happy to make the report myself, because this is disgusting.”
    Do it do it do it do it, omg yes!

  66. Tupac Coachella*

    Um, yeah, no. For some jobs it might be an inconvenience. An inconvenience does not make you unhireable. Feel free to disregard this person’s terrible advice, OP. I’m furious that they call themselves a career counselor without having a better grasp of disability accommodations (or even common practices) in the workplace.

    Someone who hired a person who left early for injections one Friday a month, and it was legit not a big deal.

  67. voyager1*

    I hate to say this, but as an applicant you will probably have to disclose this at hiring. For some employers that will be enough not to move forward with you. I would look for larger companies with functioning HRs who may be less likely to discriminate against you. This sounds like you would be covered under ADA.

    1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      This is more shitty advice.

      You have to disclose it when you’re at the offer stage, just like you have to disclose anything that’s a special accommodation. If they want to pull the offer, you can go ahead and ride their asses all the way to a lawyer as well.

      Also tons of giant mega corps have garbage HR departments that don’t deal with this. It still goes through the management channels for accommodations.

      Don’t plant this bullshit fear mongering into the head of someone who is already being screwed with by someone who’s supposed to be helping them.

      1. voyager1*

        Most places I have worked, granted large mostly Fortune 500 finance/banks will have a place on the application to disclose if you need any accommodations. Needing a Friday off or a half day would definitely meet that requirement. Maybe “at hiring” is not the best word for it, but definitely before starting once the LW is in a probationary phase.

        I would put a little bit more faith in a HR at a top 10 bank in the country then some community bank. I have worked at both. They both have their pluses and minuses.

    2. Ask a Manager* Post author

      This is 100% wrong. If they pull the offer over it, that’s illegal and no sensible employer will do that. If they do, you have a very clear cut cause for legal action.

    3. Tuesday*

      The OP is hearing that she needs to be nervous about disclosing her need for accommodations, but for so many workplaces, this will not be a big deal at all! I mean, a few hours a month? In many jobs, people rearrange their schedules to accommodate their childcare needs, their yoga classes, a lot of things. There are many employers who are flexible, even in situations not required by law. I’m so glad the OP thought to check with Alison instead of just being crushed by what the horrible career counselor said, like I imagine a lot of people would have been.

    4. Observer*

      Sure, there are SOME employers that will refuse to hire over this. But it REALLY, REALLY is an outlier. Because even bad employers don’t generally do this.

    5. Keymaster of Gozer*

      This is rather close to the recent career advice (from the UK job seekers lot) that I should lay out every single one of my health issues in an interview so that the company won’t get ‘blindsided’ into having to pay extra money for accommodations if they hire me.

      Don’t think any employer wants an extra hour in an interview with me going through my medical history!

    6. mgguy*

      I’ve filled out a lot of job applications the past two years(hopefully won’t be filling out another again for a long time).

      Nearly every online application I’ve filled out has asked if you have a disability that might require “reasonable accommodation” and stressed that it would NOT influence the hiring decision. Every place I’ve seen this, also, gave the option of “prefer not to answer”.

  68. Coco Puffs*

    This is ridiculous, you likely wouldn’t even qualify for disability if you wanted to with this. Please report this person, there is no telling what they are telling other students.

    I can only see this being an issue when you start out at the lower end and go through training.

  69. Me*

    Dude. Just to add to the chorus of she’s out of touch. I have to leave every other week a quarter day for therapy. It’s not a thing. At one point it was weekly. I either take sick leave or make up my hours. It’s such a non-issue that I’m not even on FMLA or have had to request any formal accommodations. It’s so not a big deal in any normal workplace.

  70. Cheesehead*

    And after you go to this person’s boss about her spectacularly bad advice, I’d like to see you take it one step further. “Surely the school doesn’t share this viewpoint, correct? Because if it does, then I feel that I’ve been TERRIBLY misled for the four years that I’ve been a student here. I went to school here to get the proper education to prepare me for a career. If the school truly feels that people who need regular maintenance medical appointments are disabled and unemployable, then WHY did the school continue to take my money for the last four years?”

    That’s…..I don’t know. Operating in extremely bad faith, or something like that (if that’s how they feel).

  71. Llama face!*

    OP, at my workplace I have a colleague who has negotiated leaving work early Every Single Day in exchange for working an extra day every couple weeks (for childcare reasons). Not only that but the rest of us have to work overtime but she doesn’t. Guess who cares? Nobody! We are happy to see that our employer is flexible with hours so we can take care of our responsibilities outside the office too. Your career counselor is a hack! (And that’s me putting it extra politely)

    1. Code Monkey, the SQL*

      YES. OP, at our company, we literally have (well, had, pre-plague) people who are unavailable from Friday at noon until Monday, because they are traveling to and from locations. And now, my coworkers and I are all having our own crazy-quilt of schedules due to wfh restrictions and conflicts.

      We work around others’ flights and appointments, and put in the hours at other times. Like sensible people. Resentment is saved for the peeps who do things like take too many donuts or name their queries stupid things.

      RageWeek indeed. Allison is going to need a whole extra rejuvenation thread on Friday, because these letters are ridiculous!

  72. Megumin*

    This is such an easy accommodation to make. As a parent of young children, I’ve had bajillions of appointments, and none of them with any regularity. Both of my children are under 5, so I’ve been having a medical appointment AT LEAST once a month for the past 5 years, and that’s just regular check ups – not to mention all the sick visits for both me and the kids (because they are in day care, so we pick up all the germs). There are other caregivers who have various appointments for people in their care – my parents basically took every Friday off to care for my grandparents for the last 15 years. Standing appointments are extremely common for people in all situations – whether it’s caregiving, chronic illness, mental health, or whatever.

    Please do not worry that this will be an issue for most employers. Like others have said, if it is an issue – then that’s probably not someone you want to work for.

  73. wondering aloud*

    How do career counselors even learn advice like this to give? They should have researched their own advice.

    1. Silly Janet*

      Seriously! Are they generally graduates, or are they working students? It is horrifying that one would give such awful “advice.”

      1. Amy Sly*

        In the law school world, there’s an ongoing scandal about law schools that hire their graduates as library techs and the like after graduation to artificially inflate their “% of students employed nine months after graduation” rates. (They of course get laid off soon after that to hire members of the next graduating class.) I’m wondering if this “counselor” was hired for similar reasons; she’s giving crap advice because she literally knows nothing.

        The only other halfway charitable read I can give is that she had some kind of extremely minor required accommodation of her own that she blames for her own inability to get a job outside academia. Since LW’s is worse, she assumes that LW has no chance at all. (If true, the “counselor’s” inability to get a different job is almost certainly due to some other problem.

  74. RegBarclay*

    Add me to the list of people who have regular infusions (every eight weeks in my case). Sometimes I take a half day PTO, sometimes I make up the time elsewhere in the week, depending on workload. I’ve never had a manager blink and this has been going on for over ten years.

    What really amazes me is that she thinks it’s that easy to get on SSI though. Like you just show up with proof of a disease and they give you money? Not AT ALL how it works.

  75. hayling*

    At many employers, you wouldn’t even need a formal accommodation for this. You’d tell your boss you need this, and you leave early once a month, and that’s it. If there is a lot of bureaucracy, you can use sick leave/PTO, or even request a formal disability accommodation. But seriously, this is such a non-issue. People leave work early regularly for all sorts of reasons, and way more frequently than once a month. I have left work up to twice a week for physical therapy and nobody bats an eyelash.

  76. History Chick*

    Just a question out of curiosity – we’ve consistently seen posts about the outdated or just plain incorrect things college career centers tell students who don’t know better and are just starting their careers. So – how do college career centers become such fonts of irresponsible wisdom? And how would the issue even be fixed?

    1. Kimmy Schmidt*

      It’s an interesting and problematic rabbit hole to dive down.

      1. Not all career centers are bad, we just don’t hear about the ones that are doing things right.
      2. The price of college means that students want some sort of “guarantee” that their investment is worth it. Career centers are great to splash across brochures or sell to parents that the school is committed to helping students find a job, when the reality looks like job hunting usually looks – often frustrating, a decent amount of luck mixed in, and there are no shortcuts to magically make a job appear.
      3. Increasingly, colleges must be everything to everyone. In my area, we don’t have very many health or counseling or career assistance options, let alone any free ones. So we have a health center and counseling center and career center. Great! But we receive smaller and smaller amounts of federal and state funding, which means it becomes near impossible to offer these services in any meaningful way.
      4. Career centers are sort of notorious for hiring people without much work experience or any work experience outside of academia. Often former students or faculty spouses will be hired to work in the career center.
      5. Students *know* career centers are bad. This has gained increasing attention in the past few years both online and from professors. Students don’t use the service, which means it doesn’t get additional funding, which means no more qualified people. It’s a self-perpetuating cycle.
      6. It’s difficult to fire someone in academia, even in a non-faculty role. So even if a supervisor knows an employee is bad, it’s usually not so bad to merit the headache of trying to remove them.

      As to how to fix it… I think until we address our skyrocketing college costs, these issues are entrenched in that system.

      1. OrigCassandra*

        6a. Because it’s so hard to fire in academia, academia is notorious for shuffling bad employees into niches where (it is thought) they will do less damage and be out of the way. I think career counseling is (wrongly!) one of those niches, some places.

        Makes me furious, because the career counselor in my department is absolutely our SECRET WEAPON. She is the best anywhere at what she does! I hate that she’s being tarnished by useless palookas like the one in this letter.

        1. Megumin*

          It is hard to fire in academia, and part of it’s because the department runs the risk of losing the position funding if they fire someone. If the person leaves on their own, they can usually retain the position. But oftentimes, if you fire someone, upper administration looks at it like, “oh well, I guess you didn’t really need that position anyway,” and they’ll yank your full-time spot. Then it’s even more impossible to get that position back, because it’s considered a “new position” and has to go back through the hiring committees and get re-budgeted.

          Not saying that’s a good reason to not fire someone, but it’s often part of the reluctance.

      2. Amy Sly*

        As a point on 2: once you start borrowing money to go to college, it becomes an investment that has to pay itself off. People don’t go to college for the education; they go for the credential that tells other people they got the education. As such, people want to see that credential improve the likelihood of getting a job and the type of job they can get.

        If they just want the education, they can subscribe to the Great Courses Plus, or take the free online learning classes through MIT, or dozens of other low cost options that don’t involve going to college.

    2. voyager1*

      Something to think about too. When was the last time a career counselor went on an interview for a job? When was the last time she wrote a resume for herself to get hired? I would be so bold to say that if it has been over 5 years then their knowledge may be a little out of date. Also career fields themselves may have certain things one needs to do to get hired. AAM loves cover letters on here, and I have gotten the implication that they are probably more important in the nonprofit world. But in the work I do, cover letters usually end up in the bin. I was lucky when I graduated college that the career center was very good, but they can’t get you a job.

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        I think it’s more important than they have significant (and recent) experience hiring than job searching. You can have a ton of job searching experience and not understand the nuance in things that you’ll learn from doing the hiring.

  77. You Have a Beef, Stew!*

    Posts like these make me particularly grateful for the existence of Ask a Manager. Not everyone has equal access to resources about work, and if someone your college has designated an expert in this area tells you stuff like this, why wouldn’t you believe them? Glad this person wrote in, for themselves, but also just in case anyone else gets terrible advice like this and can use this site as to cross-reference.

    Also, WHAT.

  78. Yet another junior manager*

    Another manager here. This would not anywhere near an issue, or even noticeable, especially on Friday when flexible working/salaried employees means people leave early just… because they feel like it. You know, if it’s sunny or something. It would be less time than some people have to take for their kids ear infections, and would barely register as a reasonable adjustment it’s so small. And the regularity makes it super easy to cope with anyway.

    The kind of adjustment I notice? Allowing someone to start 3-4 hours after everyone else Every Single Day because their fatigue condition makes mornings difficult. And we still accommodate it. And they still do their hours and are a well liked member of the team.

  79. emmelemm*

    The ADA may not be perfect, but by gum, jobs in the US are LEGALLY REQUIRED to make an accommodation such as this for you. There is no scenario, no judge, who would say that one early departure a month is “unreasonable” for any business.

  80. A Simple Narwhal*

    Wow what the actual f*ck, that was spectacularly awful advice! Once a month you need to leave early? That’s literally barely anything. Hell, you could take all of Friday off once a month and it still would barely be a thing.

    That counselor needs to not be advising people any more, they are clearly unqualified to give career advice.

  81. jamberoo*

    Ha, what dross. Irony being it’s the counselor who should bow out of the workforce, or at least their current field, due to being incapable of performing it properly.

    As a chronic migraine sufferer, I can tell you there are plenty of HUMAN bosses and companies out there who will have your back. Good luck!

  82. OBCG*

    What???!!!! That is HORRIBLE advice!! My employer allows me to do a half-day EVERY Wednesday EVERY week to do care coordination for my disabled parent. And my Team Leader actively ENCOURAGES me to use PTO just for me so I don’t get tired or burnt out.

  83. Apricot*

    Another injection-requirer here! I worked for a notoriously unreasonable workplace when my condition was diagnosed, and had to travel to a specialist in another state once a month (~3.5 hours away). Even my notoriously unreasonable employer made it work, and not a single coworker was jealous/resentful because not one of them wanted my condition (which, ya know, is the tradeoff). OP, I have a very good feeling you’re going to be just fine work-wise, and I’m so glad you wrote in to Ask A Manager instead of blindly following that terrible advice!

  84. blink14*

    OP I feel for you! I was finally diagnosed with a fairly serious immune disorder a couple of years ago that requires regular treatment. I spent good chunk of my 20s at a job with 4 days of sick time per year, that had to be taken in increments of days, not hours, and it was awful, on top of the job being dead end and my boss being horrendous. Because of the 2008 crash, I had to stick with the job for longer than I wanted.

    Extensive and flexible sick time was a must have for me when I was looking for new jobs. Shortly after landing my current job at a university, with extremely generous sick time even for academia, I had surgery for an injury and then my health began to decline. I was out sick probably 2-3 days per month for a stretch of 6-7 months, and then once I was diagnosed with the real underlying problems, I began a treatment regimen that I too will have to do for the rest of my life. Fortunately, I am now able to do it at home, but managing all of my medical conditions requires that I have at least one monthly doctor appointment, and as you noted, most doctors have office hours that do not accommodate early morning or evening appointments. I have made my boss aware of my situation and I try to schedule my appointments far in advance, so I can plan meetings and events around my appointments and vice versa.

    Your college counselor is just wrong, full stop. Yes, there are a lot of companies and some industries where this will pose a problem, but there are also a lot of great companies and industries out there that will be able to work with you and figure out a plan. You may need to apply for an ADA accommodation at work (I’m in the process of this now, to implement structured work from home time once my office is back open full time), and you may need be a little more open than you want to be with a future manager or HR person about the situation, but it’s fully doable.

    My suggestion is to really dive deep when you apply for a job and see what you can find out about the company’s PTO and sick time policies. Many places will have this information listed on their website. If you know people in the industries you are looking at and are comfortable discussing this, run the scenario by them and see what they think. Your college probably has an alumni association – ask if you can be connected to some alumni in your desired fields and get a sense of what their schedule is like. Some industries will have busy seasons, like the fashion and entertainment industries, where this may be more difficult to deal with, while other industries may have major conferences or very set period times of the year where you know what’s coming and it can be planned around.

    It will probably be hard for you in your first job, balancing your dedication to your job and to your health, but I promise you that the balance can be found.

  85. GlamorousNonprofiteer*

    Delurking after months of reading but not commenting to say:


    I work with college interns frequently (and have done for two decades) and with a very few exceptions, college career advisors are really not good. This one though? May just be my nominee for the Most Egregious Asshat in college career consulting and that’s a very low bar.

    You’ve gotten good advice, LW, so let me just add that you should not only report this but you should tell your friends and academic advisor. You can refer to the post and say “huh, that’s pretty much what X told me, glad to know that I’m not taking that advice! They are clearly off the mark here! ” if you need to divert from your own health stuff.

    You should tell that craptastic advisor that I just left work (my dining room table) to take the dogs out for potty and guess what? No. One. Cares.

  86. Anne_Not_Carrot*

    I leave early once a WEEK to go to the gym. I adjusted my schedule, my work gets done, nobody cares. Now granted, my work is more permissive than many AND I have solid years behind me but the point is: schedule accommodations for reasons important and unimportant aren’t unusual. This career counselor is terrible at her job and probably a terrible co-worker who watches her colleagues comings and goings and marks them down by the second in a weird little notebook.

  87. TallTeapot*

    I am curious, OP–what industry did you express an interest in working in? It wouldn’t be entertainment by any chance, would it?

  88. Mannheim Steamroller*

    My office has several people whose medical, religious, and other needs are easily accommodated…

    – Most will schedule very early or very late appointments and take two or three hours of sick time. (Yes, we’re given PTO in hours and can use it in 15-minute increments.)

    – One guy has his manager’s approval to work 6-2 on Fridays (instead of 9-5) for Shabbat.

    – My own direct reports sometimes ask permission to shift their hours for various purposes (e.g. doctor visit, child’s recital, take parents to the airport). I haven’t yet had a reason to reject the requests. All I ask is that they give advance notice and get the work done (both of which they always do anyway).

  89. Bree*

    I work in public relations. This would be terrible advice for anyone, but especially for a field which typically does not require butts in seats 100% of the time, and where schedules may need to be flexible anyway, due to the nature of the work. A half-day once a month is not a big deal.

  90. TootsNYC*

    one word: FMLA

    (I mean, maybe that’s not a word, but…)

    Here’s two: sick leave

    Here’s another pair: flex time

    1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      Reminder though, FMLA doesn’t kick in until she’s been there a year.

      Sick leave, in our mandated state, can be withheld up to 90 days.

      So these wouldn’t help protect her out of the gate with a preexisting issue.

  91. Yarrow*

    Again, what are these career counselor’s smoking?! I get allergy shots 3 times a week and counseling once a week. I’ve quit jobs before that had a problem with me going to the doctor and I was able to find better work where it wasn’t an issue. HUamns need things. My coworkers are always in and out with caregiving-related things, dentist appointments, physical therapy and a bunch of other stuff that isn’t my business. I am so disturbed that people are scaring college students about how they can expect to be treated in the working world. Ableist BS.

  92. AnnaBagel01*

    I’m in an almost identical situation, OP — recent PR grad with a monthly medical appointment that requires me to be out of the office for around half a day once per month. I promise, it’s not something that will upset your future employer (unless they’re supremely unreasonable, in which case I’m sure that won’t be the only issue you’d have there).
    I’ve only ever had one coworker raise an eyebrow at it, and when I told her I had a doctor’s appointment she was immediately understanding.

  93. MCMonkeyBean*

    Wowowow what an absurd thing to say!

    Any good workplace (for a non coverage-needed job) should have no problem at all accommodating this.

    Small additional thing I want to note that may not be useful to you depending on what the injections are–but my current employer actually has an on-site nurse and she can give regular injections to employees. That was an amazing perk I had no idea was available until I started getting monthly shots for a cat allergy I developed. I don’t know how common that is but it was definitely awesome to be able to pop over to the nurse for my shot instead of having to drive to the clinic (though when I did have to drive to the clinic literally no employer has ever had a problem with me needing to do that!)

    1. Nerdy Library Clerk*

      Even plenty of coverage-needed jobs could easily accommodate someone leaving early once a month. It’s not uncommon for people to be able to swap shifts for things like this, even in retail and other types of jobs that aren’t known for being great to their employees.

      I’m terrified of what other completely wrong and banana crackers advice this counselor is handing out!

  94. Wednesday Addams*

    LW, I work for a major PR firm and multiple members of my team at all levels of seniority have recurring appointments they leave early/come in late for. The other team members only care to the extent that we need to make sure there is coverage when the person is gone, which there always is and then that’s the end of the conversation. We also have a pretty strong culture of protecting work/life balance and are often encouraged by our department head to leave early on Fridays if possible, so if you took a half day one Friday a month, no one would bat an eye.

    Screw this lady and her terrible recommendations and grab your goal job!

  95. TiredMama*

    That is the worst advice. And insult to injury, part of your tuition pays that person’s salary. You paid money for that horrible advice. Go get your job!

  96. Nita*

    I’m sorry, but that’s ridiculous. One of my coworkers had to leave almost early every day for a couple of years because of her kid’s school schedule. Another developed a medical condition that at one point had them taking a sick day every 2-3 weeks. Another leaves early twice a week, every week because of classes after work. No one cares, as long as we know where they are and when they can be reached. OP, whatever is going on with your career counselor, they’re completely unfit for their job and you should re-examine any advice they gave you. If they have such an odd idea in their head, they may have told you all kinds of things that aren’t true.

  97. WantonSeedStitch*

    No workplace would be OK with this? As a manager, if you asked this of me, I’d say, “sure, just make sure that it’s on the calendar that you’re leaving early those days.” Boom. That’s it. This makes me wonder what kind of horrible places the career counselor has worked in, that she can’t imagine people being OK with this.

  98. Phony Genius*

    It’s interesting that there are laws against employers doing what this career counselor said they would do. Yet, there are no laws against career counselors giving advice like this. I don’t even think you could sue them for giving you this advice. And there are no licenses as far as I know.

    1. Ell*

      Very frustrating, but hypothetically the college or university should have strong opinions on their career guidance counselors offering such horrendous advice to their students and/or alumni. This is how you miss out on alumni donations down the line.

  99. Ell*

    I have NO WORDS for how misguided this career counselor is.

    Early on in my career, I worked at an extremely high pressure, long hours, unwilling-to-be-flexible type job that was hesitant to ever do the right thing and they STILL worked with me to let me go early to attend therapy ONCE A WEEK when I requested it with basically zero issue.

    If one of the most unreasonable employers out there accommodated me for something much more disruptive, OPs issue should cause zero problems at any even halfway reasonable workplace. That should go without saying and I am outraged the career counselor doesn’t know this basic thing.

  100. Nerdy Library Clerk*

    On top of everything else, your future coworkers – should you choose to tell them why you leave early once a month – are FAR more likely to think it’s lousy that taking care of your health means you spend one weekend a month not feeling well than to be unhappy that you leave a few hours early. Because most people are considerably more caring than your college’s poor excuse for a career counselor.

  101. NoLongerStuckInRetailHell*

    OP you should ask this counselor “if I’m unemployable why are you (as in the school) taking tens of thousands in tuition money to educate me for a career I can’t have? Seems like some kind of fraud to me!” Not really but watch how fast she backpedals! It’s also something I would bring up to whoever you report her to: “why would you take my tuition money to train me for a career when the career counselor you employ just says ‘collect disability’ for the rest of my life. If that’s the case, I could’ve been doing that four years ago instead of wasting my time and money here!”

    1. Not So NewReader*

      You read my mind.

      This is fraud. OP, if what this counselor says is true then the college just defauded you of some big bucks.

      They should have told you on your application that THEY were not capable of helping you have a career because you are not employable.

      Actually, I think this person is making up her own dreamworld stuff and she does not reflect what the school’s officials think.
      But I would think about telling her you are going to the attorney general to report fraud.

  102. Always Sciencing*

    Echoing the many comments above that in my experience as a person with a chronic medical condition that requires a LOT of specialist appointments/treatments/time off this has never been an issue. Even during the period when I had multiple appointments a week. Your “career counselor” is a loon…and as some who works in Student Affairs I am outraged and appalled at her “advice”. We arrange far more complicated accommodations/schedules for students all the time. Do not worry about this at all.

  103. hmmm*

    My husband has almost the exact same thing – an IV treatment ever 6 weeks that takes a few hours. It has literally not caused any sort of issue with his job. The career counselor is not just inept they are harmful and need to find a different job.

  104. No Tribble At All*

    OP, I’m so glad you wrote in, because (as Alison said) this is ABSURD advice. Let me be another voice saying this so-called career counselor is 1000% wrong. When I started therapy, I told my boss I’d need to come in an hour late one day a week, and she said “alrighty,” didn’t ask why, and that was the end of it. One of my coworkers would leave early to pick up his kids from daycare, and the only reason I know about this was we were running a meeting together and he mentioned the constraint for scheduling purposes. And I’m sure whole bunches of my coworkers pop in and out, but I don’t notice, because as long as you’re getting your work done, no one cares. No One Cares. Sometimes people leave an hour early on Friday just because it’s Friday!

    These appointments are not an obstacle at all. Especially when you can schedule it in advance! You can put it on the calendar that you’ll be out of office! No one cares why! This is literally the easiest thing to work around! I can’t emphasize how much of a non-issue this is!

    I remembered another case of a coworker leaving early for regular appointments. Saw her packing up, said “heading out so soon?” and she replied that yeah, she was getting physical therapy for her ankle because it’d been hurting for two months. I said “that sucks, good luck, see you tomorrow” and that was the end of it. Your coworkers will not resent you. If anything, they’ll think “she has to spend her weekend recovering? Poor thing, that sucks,” and that’s it. Most of them will not notice you leaving early one day a month. Even if you were gone the whole day, most people wouldn’t notice the pattern!! The vast majority of companies are flexible about people taking time off for appointments, and yours would definitely be covered by the ADA.

    Please don’t get discouraged by this one idiot. Also please report her. Or sic AAM on her. This “advice” borders on criminal.

    1. FormerFirstTimer*

      I think OP should forward the link to this post to her h=so she can read the comments. I haven’t gotten through all of them yet, but haven’t found one that thinks this would even be remotely considered a problem.

    2. Atalanta0jess*

      Seriously, it actually turns out that all workers have bodies and brains, and that most bodies and brains occasionally need some care. It’s so so so so so so so so normal.

  105. Kalliopesmom*

    This reminds me of when high school teachers say college professors are more strict. Not true. Employers have to follow the

    1. Kalliopesmom*

      Laws but at the same time they understand people have medical appointments. I have never worked for a company that didn’t understand medical conditions or appointments. Listen to Allison, spot on advice.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        Grammar school : “When you get into the real world of high school, you will find it’s going to be almost down right impossible. What you have now in grammar school is a cake walk comparatively.”

        High school: “When you get into the real world of college you will find it’s going to be almost impossible. What you have here in high school is a fantasy land.”

        College: “When you get into the real world of work, you will find that college is a walk in the park.”

        Work: “Disregard anything you learned in school, it’s not relevant or applicable.”

        These things were actually said to me. I decided that the last statement was the closest to being correct because nothing I learned in school gave me skills to actually do a job.

  106. A Tired Queer*

    I want to throw my voice in with the myriad of gainfully employed people whose monthly medical appointments are a perfectly normal and accepted part of their work schedule! In fact, some of my coworkers have WEEKLY appointments that they need to get to, and you know what? Those are accepted as well! Any boss worth working for will be accepting of employees’ medical needs, as long as you communicate those needs and work with your team and your boss to ensure that you’re getting your work done and getting coverage when needed. And your foresight in thinking to bring this up as a question just goes to show that you have the kind of mindfulness and awareness needed to navigate this situation in the workplace. The career adviser gave you terrible advice, so please accept our reassurances that you are going to be perfectly fine in a professional setting. Best of luck with your job search!

  107. old curmudgeon*

    Don’t hide your feelings, Alison. Tell us how you really feel about this.

    I’m sorry – the career counselor is outrageous and ridiculous, and you are completely reasonable to react as you did, but it just made me laugh out loud when I got to “I am enraged over here, and one of us needs to report this person.” It is so refreshing to see such a spontaneous (and amply justified) reaction as that is, instead of the mealy-mouthed platitudes that emerge from too many people offering advice.

    To the OP – Alison is absolutely correct and your “counselor” should get a job reclass to Manure Spreader Second Class, cuz that’s what they’re actually doing. Go forth into the world and succeed, which is the best revenge of all!

  108. PB*

    Rage week, indeed!

    I do want to say that there are some of us who work for colleges and don’t give terrible, dangerous advice. I am a librarian and welcome the chance to talk to students and give them actually useful advice in finding a job. Many of us have worked outside of academia and know what the world is actually like. College career centers, please stop.

  109. DarthVelma*

    LW, pre-COVID I left at lunch every 5th Friday for a salon appointment and no one cared. Any “jealousy” was a) over the fact that I managed to get that time slot (my stylist loves me) and b) played for laughs. Heck, when my work is stressing me out, my co-workers WANT it to be my salon week. Because I work with decent human beings who care about my well-being and whether I’m doing things to take care of myself. Even little things.

    I guarantee the vast majority of people won’t care one way or the other even if you say nothing. And if you are comfortable sharing why you’re leaving early, most people will see you leave and quietly send up good thoughts for your health. Because most people don’t suck.

    Your career counselor is an idiot.

  110. FormerFirstTimer*

    This person needs to be reported immediately. I have never heard of a career counsellor (if you can even call her that) suggesting someone apply for disability. WTF. As if it wasn’t hard enough having a chronic condition.

    When I decided I needed to go back into therapy, I literally walked into my bosses office and asked if I could come in early and leave early one day a week. She said yes without even asking why, which is a normal reaction in most workplaces.

  111. Autistic Farm Girl*

    I have a standing medical appointment once a week (long term disability), where I have to leave work early. I also have a full time job and I’ve been promoted twice in the last 2 years. One has NEVER been an issue for the other, not even in the slightest.

    I just told my manager about it, and i do slightly longer days the other days I’m at work to make up for the hours I work. And that’s IT.

    That counsellor is an imbecile and I can’t believe they advise kids. Don’t listen to them, they’re advice isn’t even worth the time you spent listening to them.

    1. Autistic Farm Girl*

      Sorry, for some reason I thought it was a high school counsellor, hence why I said kids, ignore and insert “young adults” instead :)

  112. phira*

    I don’t get them any more, but I used to get infusions every 6 weeks, and because they gave me crippling fatigue for days afterwards, and because they took 3 hours to administer, I would schedule all of my appointments for Friday mornings. I would get the infusion done as early as possible, get to work by noon, and by the time the fatigue began to set in, it was time to go home.

    No one EVER gave me a hard time about it. My coworkers and boss knew about my chronic illness and understood that this was necessary, and everyone was busy doing their own thing anyway, so my Friday morning absences had no impact on anyone else.

    I work in academia (and have since I left school), and I can guarantee you that Alison is RIGHT and someone needs to report this so-called advisor. Us chronically ill folks are human beings, and no employer is going to refuse to hire you over this.

  113. A PR person*

    Adding in here because I work in PR – often we are considered a “24 hour role”, which in my experience means “we will call you if there is a crisis and it is after work hours” (some bosses/clients will try to take advantage of that but that is a different issue). I mention this because most bosses will have NO PROBLEM with you leaving early for a medical appointment, not only because it’s legally required (as Allison and many other posters have said) but also because you will *occasionally* have to work outside of traditional office hours. It will feel weird and scary to bring it up since you are new to the industry and there are likely people out there who will be a**holes about it, but you are obviously 100% in your rights. I’m sorry that this career counselor has been a jerk!

    1. Sarah*

      Yeah, I worked at a PR firm once where you only had to be in the office from 10-3 instead of 9-5, because the job required a lot of overnight travel and nighttime events. Lots of people left at 3 to pick up kids or beat traffic or whatever. It absolutely was not a big deal.

  114. Lepidoptera*

    This person is completely out to lunch.
    Not all jobs do a 9-5 M-F work week, the hours can go one way or the other and sometimes they can be shorter on some days than others because there are employers who let you adjust your schedule to fit your needs. Other places have mandated leave policies, like every 3rd Friday is a day off to balance the number of hours you work, etc.
    Escalate this, because she is going to do damage to other students who take her words at face value and don’t fact check her ridiculousness like you have.

  115. Trout 'Waver*

    My observant Muslim employee got an extra hour every Friday to attend his mosque service. What “advice” would this college career counselor give him?

    Nobody cared as long as he got his work done. (which he did.)

  116. NowI'mHungry*

    Wait, we’re supposed to be working on Fridays? Oh, sh*t.

    Seriously, though LW, please listen to Alison’s (and the commentariat) on this one. No reasonable employer will *ever* care that you need to leave early once a month. And any employer that would care (I can’t even picture my absolute worst bosses ever being upset about this), well, that’s not someone you would want to work for. Best of luck in your job search, you got this!

  117. Batgirl*

    Dear, sweet baby Groot this institution needs to be named and shamed. I might give them one chance to grovel first. One.

    1. anonymous 5*

      Yep. I understand the general principle of not wanting to name employers but…good heavens this is different.

  118. HigherEd*

    I agree with everyone’s comments that this advice from the Career Counselor is absurd, horrendous and completely inappropriate. Is there any chance that the student misunderstood the counselor?

    I say that as a person who works in higher education. A regular part of my conversations with students is clarifying our conversation and checking for understanding. It often happens that what I thought I conveyed didn’t come through.

    It’s important for an advisor/counselor to check for understanding. The fact that this advice is so horrendous makes me wonder if there was a misunderstanding.

    1. Prof. Space Cadet*

      If it is a misunderstanding, it’s a pretty significant one. I’ve been teaching college part-time since 2004 and full-time since 2011, and the kinds of misunderstandings I’ve had with students are usually about procedural details, like “I thought the meeting was at 9:30 instead of 10am” or “I thought we only needed to cite 4 articles in the final paper, not six.” I’ve never accidentally told a student that they should file for disability after graduation.

      Nevertheless, my advice to the student (which I detail downthread) would be to send email that is as factual in tone as possible so that if there is a misunderstanding, it can be corrected in an efficient manner.

    2. PollyQ*

      There’s always a chance of a misunderstanding (as there is for any letter), but Alison asks us to take letter writers at their word. It’s hard for me to imagine just how badly a conversation could go that LW would walk away with the impression that she should give up on work entirely and instead go on disability, all over a few hours a month of absence when the speaker meant something else completely different.

    3. Eleanor Konik*

      I’m a teacher so I get where you’re coming from, but I can’t even fathom the sort of statement that would lead to a misunderstanding of this nature.

  119. irene adler*

    I’d demand a good portion of my tuition back from the school if they stand by this kind of career advice.

    1. Christmas Carol*

      And if it’s a public university, I would like my tax dollars back too please.

  120. Observer*

    OK. You have just sent in a letter where pearl clutching is a reasonable and deeply understated response.

    Your career counselor said WHAT?!?!?!?!? That is gross. And utterly, completely and absolutely malevolently incompetent!

    Please confirm this in writing and send this up the chain. Find another career counselor. And make sure that this person never has access to ANY information about you, nor has even the whisper of input to anything about you, to the extent you can manage it.

  121. StateGovAnon*

    This guidance counselor is very out of line. I work in what some would consider a very traditional work enviro (government, working for the state), and for 6 months I had to leave early once a week for PT. My manager didn’t care at all, I just stayed an hour late the day before or after. Also, just because the OP seems to need better guidance, I’d like to throw out there that even in traditional jobs and work environments there’s often flexibility in work hours. We have people coming in anywhere between 6 and 9, and leaving 8 hours later, so it’s highly likely there will be many workplaces that would accommodate an 8-4, which would potentially give OP enough time to get to their appointment without ever having to say anything.

  122. KoiFeeder*

    Oh, hey, is LW on the East Coast? I think they may have gone to my college. :p

    (Alison and the commenters tearing this counselor a new one fills my hateful heart with joy. Thank you, everyone!)

  123. Corporate Cynic*

    This is the shittiest advice I’ve ever heard of a career counselor dispensing. Please report them – they are deranged.

    I had a boss several years ago who left early one day each month for her husband’s monthly infusions, and no one cared at all.

  124. NYC Taxi*

    WTF? I manage a team of people and every one of them currently has or has had some sort of standing appointment that occasionally necessitates them leaving work early. It doesn’t affect what I think of their job performance. I don’t remotely care that they need to leave. No one is resentful, and in fact it improves morale when people see that coworkers are being treated with respect and dignity.

  125. Ciela*

    This person has zero idea what it takes to qualify for disability. One afternoon a month? She is bat crap crazy.
    Yes, report this up the food chain. Do not think that ANYTHING they have ever told you has any merit.

    My husband has a chronic medical condition, that very soon will require treatment 3+ times a week, for 3-4 hours at a time. He’ll qualify for Medicare, no problem. But disability? Not unless he is hospitalized several times a year, in addition to the very poor lab results he already has. And this is a condition where EVERY single nurse, doctor, and insurance reps asks “is he planning on still working?”

    1. Not So NewReader*

      Great point here. Ask her how well acquainted she is with filing for disability. (I have done it for my husband, it took us EIGHT hours to fill out the form. I could go on and on about the form. The process is UNBELIEVABLE. A person in his condition would not be able to do this one their own. No way.)

      Anyway, you have to have something major going on with you for them to even consider you. You have to have all kinds of doctors backing you up. In the end, they collect so much info on you that they know more about you than anyone else. Eh, he had to go for appointments just to check a box on a form. There was no actual need for the appointment EXCEPT to fill out the disability form update. “Yep. He STILL has eight breaks in his spinal column like he did the last time he was here….”)

      At best I find this woman’s attitude cavalier. At worst, I don’t think she should be allowed around people.

  126. Anon for this one*

    Agree with all the comments saying that this adviser is being ridiculous and has no idea how the world works… but also leaving early, let’s say it’s leaving at lunchtime so a half day, once a month is 5% of your working days, so I think it does need to be acknowledged in some way in most work places unless you have a truly flexible schedule.

    What I would say though is don’t get pushed into “missing” your appointments or nonsense like that. I made that mistake – not with injections, but with needed physical therapy after an injury resulting in a 2 week hospital trip. I had just started a new job and felt that I couldn’t ask to leave early (they did have ‘evening’ appointments, but I would still have had to leave work an hour early due to where it was) so after one appointment I just… stopped going. That was 3 years ago and I still have effects from the injury, which ought to have healed fully within a couple of months, which will likely last the rest of my life. Don’t be like me!

  127. Sarah*

    My father also has a similar standing once-a-month appointment to receive shots and I promise you none of his coworkers are “jealous” that he gets to take half a day sometimes SO HIS CANCER DOESN’T COME BACK.

  128. goducks*

    I’ve navigated a bunch of interactive processes for settling on and approving accommodations under ADA. Some have gotten a tad hairy as the employee’s request wasn’t reasonable for our operations, and there was considerable back and forth to find something that was reasonable and worked for the company and the employee.

    This one???? LOL, if I were presented this request, I’d approve it in 0.04275 seconds flat. What a nothingburger of a request.

    And, I’ll note, that the OP is ESPECIALLY reasonable in her request by scheduling her appointments for Friday afternoon so as to totally eliminate the impact to the employer during her recovery period. It’d likely STILL be a reasonable request if she had to do it mid-week once a month!

    1. Working Hypothesis*

      Yeah, if I were their manager, I would be impressed at the dedication of an employee who matter of factly arranged to give up 1/4 of their weekends to being sick so that they could be sure not to miss any more work time than they absolutely had to. This is definitely somebody I’d want to keep and support!

  129. Hope O*

    I wish I had read this column back in college. I had a bunch of issues that I put off taking care of as I entered the work world, because of people like this advisor

  130. Medstudent*

    Commenting because I’m actually in a similar boat. I’m in medical school and I was recently diagnosed with a condition that will lead to blindness of I don’t get monthly injections for the rest of my life. Some careers honestly suck at caring for their employees. There are stories out there of residents being fired from their residency (if you don’t finish your residency you cannot practice as a doctor, so this is a big FD) for needing chemotherapy appointments. So I am facing the real fear that my health is going to limit my career in very real ways, and there is nothing wrong with me that can’t be treated and managed. It’s a messed up world and it isn’t just medicine. Not to freak out OP- the vast majority of the world recognizes that a few hours once a month is not a big deal- but also be aware that awful bosses exist and some jobs don’t care about the people who work for them.

    1. Gazebo Slayer*

      Yeah, I worked a crappy job that tried to enforce a “no medical appointments of any kind during office hours, you can only go to the doctor evenings and weekends” policy. Because, y’know, nobody ever needs specialists or diagnostic procedures or surgery…

      1. Not So NewReader*

        Rural America here. Our docs are available from 9-5, M-F. It’s amazing how many bosses don’t understand this sentence.

  131. nm*

    The university I work at has something called the Office of Institutional Equity which (among other things) investigates disability discrimination. If your university has a similar office they would probably be interested in hearing about this, and at minimum they would be able to direct you to an appropriate person to send a report to.

  132. Vancouver*

    You know that you’ve made a really bad mistake when Alison uses RageBold!

    But in all seriousness, this is crazypants and I hope the person who gave this advice has other marketable skills and can find a new job in a field where they are less likely to cause irreparable harm to the lives of others.

  133. NYC Taxi*

    WTF?? NO. I manage a team where at one time or another everyone has had a standing appointment that necessitates leaving early. It doesn’t affect what I think of their work. No one is resentful — far from it, it boosts morale when they see their coworker being treated with dignity and respect.

    I wonder what other nonsense this counselor has been feeding students, and how many have listened to their horrible advice. Please report that advisor. They should not be counseling students. They are out of touch with how the real world works.

  134. Emmie*

    It’s absurd advice. After you receive (or accept) an offer for employment, let the manager know that you need this accommodation. Ask if you should submit a formal request for an ADA accommodation, or if this is something your manager can accommodate without involving Human Resources. Frankly, I would consider going through your employers ADA accommodation process just so it is documented in your employee file. Managers change, or forget they agreed to this. You could get promoted, or make a lateral move. It’s helpful to have this documented.

  135. Ana Gram*

    Well, that’s just plain stupid. I spent several months leaving early 3x a week for physical therapy. No one cared. 2 years leaving early for classes. No one cared. And now I get a midday allergy shot once a week. I don’t think anyone even notices and they certainly don’t care.

    This is the easiest thing ever to accommodate. I’m glad the career counselor doesn’t have anyone reporting to her. Yeesh.

  136. Trudy Rushforth - Law Offices of Trudy Rushforth*

    I’m a disability lawyer. My whole job is getting people approved for SSI and SSDI. If you walked into my office and said the only thing preventing you from working is a half day per month of medical appointments, I wouldn’t take your case. It’s absurdly hard to get on disability; people take years and need lawyers to do it, if at all.

    This is totally manageable, and you’ll be perfectly able to work and have a fulfilling career. The ADA protects you. Your career counselor should be ashamed for giving such bad and demoralizing advice.

  137. HugsAreNotTolerated*

    WTF?!?! Did this “counselor” suggest you drop out of school as well since there’d be no point in you having a degree if you’re not going to work? PLEASE PLEASE take Alison up on her offer to respond & report this person. I, for one would love to see the e-mail she writes, but also it really just needs to be done. This is so insane that I cannot believe it. I just started a new job and my boss literally said the words to me “Go ahead and leave early on Fridays if you’ve finished up” and he means it. OP you deserve better than this ‘advice’, this ‘counselor’, and quite frankly what your school is providing you.

  138. nm*

    Also just to add another reason to report this person— if this counselor is managing anyone then there is a risk that people in this office are being denied reasonable disability accommodations. Again, something an Office of Institutional Equity would be very interesting in hearing about.

  139. I edit everything*

    This career counselor (and clearly many other college career counselors) is worse than useless.

    For those looking for a career counselor, how do you find a good one? AND if someone wanted to become a good career counselor, how would you go about starting down that career path?

    How meta: career counseling for becoming a career counselor.

  140. Llellayena*

    Can we AAM readers start a petition that gets sent to every college career counselor’s office in the country (world would be nice but lets start small) that AAM is required reading for all career counselors? And preferably part of a required course for students, but I think it’ll be easier to get people who are paid, rather than paying, to have required reading.

    1. That Girl From Quinn's House*

      Alison’s next book should be Ask A Manager for College Career Counselors: How to Set Your Students Up for Success in the Workplace

      She could charge industry/textbook prices for it and make $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        Gee, seems to me I was paying close to $300 each for some books. But that was years ago. Yeah, there’s big bucks to be had.
        But wait, Alison’s ethical. And Alison wants to make actual change.

    2. KoiFeeder*

      Honestly, I’ve gotten a lot more great advice about careers from AAM than I ever did from my high school and college career centers. Though neither bar is very high.

  141. Phony Genius*

    Alison, if the OP takes you up on the offer and allows you to report this person, would you be able to update us on that? I understand if you can’t due to confidentiality.

  142. Deborah*

    Do the career counselors keep documentation of their sessions? I’d probably want to get her great advice in writing before reporting her, because I bet the records might otherwise change. (Unless being remote it’s already recorded.)

  143. Boba Feta*

    Skipping all comments to post because FLAMES. ON THE SIDE OF MY FACE.
    I teach at a Uni. I want to know who this person is, what Uni. they work for, and *** I *** want to report them on your behalf, OP.
    that is all I can safely type without digressing into profanities.
    Rage Week, y’all.

  144. Mike*

    Everyone has addressed this completely and anything I say will be superfluous, but I have to chime in because I am so enraged at the whole idea. I am rage-posting!

    I have a team of 7 people who report up to me. Three people on my team have to modify their schedules slightly for various reasons. One is ADA-related, one has to do with child care, and to be honest I forget what the other reason is because I. Don’t. Care.

    The same is true throughout my company (Fortune 100 w/ 50K+ employees). No one cares about this. If I were your manager and you came to me with this situation, my response would be “OK, thanks…be sure to block your calendar for when you’re out.” I would then start thinking about things I actually cared about. And I promise you, no one on the team would be resentful…it just wouldn’t occur to them.

    OP, best of luck in your career search.

  145. Combinatorialist*

    My mom went to work late every day, 5 days a week for THREE years because I wanted to go to a magnet middle school. Her job did not care because she is good at what she does and gets her stuff done. Enough people leave early on Fridays that major cities often see rush hour shift earlier on Fridays. Nobody will care.

  146. EngineerMom*

    Your career counselor needs to retire NOW and stop handing out bullshit advice.
    I have extremely heavy periods, and one day a week sometimes I need to take a half- or full-day of sick time to stay home and deal with feeling terrible/rundown, plus just the practical side of bleeding so much (yes, my doctor knows, no, hormonal birth control isn’t an option for me due to other issues, yes I’m considering Mirena when my copper IUD expires in about a year).

    At least in your situation you can actually PLAN the time off!

    Seriously, that counselor has no idea how the real world works.

    1. EngineerMom*

      That was supposed to say “one day a month”. Though with a period every 21-23 days, sometimes it feels like 1 day a week!

      Being pregnant was awesome.

  147. Woah*

    I’m an observant Jew with multiple medical issues, the idea my coworkers have been at all impacted or affected by my schedule is hilarious.

    The only comment I’ve gotten was “oh- well you’ll miss the happy hour, is that okay?” which a) YES and b) they held near enough to me that I walked over a few times and a coworker bought me a drink, which I paid her back for one Monday. Like…interesting, not.

    1. Lemon Meringue Pie*

      And, like, most people are pretty decent.

      My coworkers just say they hope my appointment goes ok!

      1. Woah*

        Right? I get occasional adorable comments of “have a good time at…Jewish church!!!” or “have a good hanukkah!!!” when its passover, but people are, on the whole, good.

        Plus seeing this work out for me has made other people less hesitant about making requests for their needs- such as starting fifteen minutes later twice a week due to bus schedules, or alternating Thursday afternoons so they can see their kids at ballet practice a few times a month. Sure, they’re not legally required in the same way as disability or religion, but I think a place that is open and calm about ADA and religion leads to a generally positive environment.

  148. Baska*

    Wow. As a manager, I find this utterly ridiculous, especially given how easy it would be for (most) jobs to accommodate it. Flex the time over the rest of the week? Use PTO? Work from home for the equivalent amount of time you’d leave early? Seriously, this isn’t a big deal.

  149. Woah*

    Just adding on, I’m sure this has been said and you probably would have mentioned it in the letter, but I do know of a distant acquaintance who had trouble leaving early on Fridays during winter. She was in the training part of some sort of financial career- something to do with moving lots of wealthy people’s money around so they would be more wealthy- she had a degree but it was generally acknowledged the first few years of your career would be hell as you learned the ropes and….got accounts? I don’t know the lingo. But yeah. Even then, in an environment where people were in the office past midnight many days, she spoke to HR and they got everyone in line. And there was no consequence for her professionally, either. So once a month? For an ADA protected issue? Yeah, no.

    Also…I was in a car accident that changed my life and put me on bedrest for months and I still couldn’t get disability.

  150. Mimmy*

    Geez, it’s one thing for counselors to give outdated career advice. It’s very common and very pervasive throughout many career service centers, both college-based and government-based (e.g. One Stop centers). There’s not much you can really do about that given how common it is.

    But to tell a person they can’t work because a once-a-month standing appointment to treat a legit medical condition??? It is a very reasonable accommodation request to make. Plus, you say the side effects only last for a couple of days; if you are able to work during the remainder of the month, then suggesting you go on disability is way off base.

    I have a hunch that it’s just the one counselor and not something endorsed by the whole career center. I would definitely report this to someone of authority there.

  151. KuklaRed*

    This is seriously nuts. I have worked with many people who needed some kind of accommodation, for lots of reasons. It was never a problem. One of the best developers I’ve ever worked with was also a very devout Jew. He observed every holiday and went to services every single Friday. So in the fall and winter, he left around lunchtime on Fridays. No biggie. He more than made up for it with the quality of his work and the insane amount of hours he put in – even on the weekends, even when I told him to relax and stop working.

    I also had to have accommodations, although not for life. I have had cancer, several broken bones with required PT in recovery and back surgery, all of which necessitated me leaving the office (or being out altogether) periodically. Never had a problem.

    I hope the LW has a long and happy career.

    1. Captain dddd-cccc-ddWdd (ENTP)*

      I’ve seen this happen, not for religious observance in my case, but for a standing weekly appointment (not ‘medical’ exactly, think something like seeing a therapist but not exactly that) which a co-worker went to every Wednesday afternoon (so leaving early)

      The job wasn’t “bums in seats” exactly, but was such that someone needed to be around to address any emergent issues that might come up, so there was a designated ‘backup’ for each person who would be the contact person if the ‘primary’ person wasn’t available.

      This worked well for things like occasional sickness, planned vacation etc, — but didn’t work so well with the standing weekly appointment. Because that meant that effectively the “designated backup” was never able to take a full continuous week of PTO since it would always leave that Wednesday afternoon ‘un-covered’. It caused a lot of resentment with the designated backup, who I was “work BFFs” with so I heard a lot, maybe too much, of her resentments about this situation.

      1. Woah*

        Ah, that shows a lack of imagination/interest on behalf of management to me- that wednesday shift should have been shifted around monthly or somehow rescheduled so that one person didn’t feel like they were carrying it.

    2. Keymaster of Gozer*

      I had one instance of other coworkers getting jealous of my accommodations in my entire career so far. ONE. And they were just annoyed that I got to park my car next to the building (in the disabled bay) while they all had to park in the public car park half a mile away.

      And even they shut up when I offered to go run them over a few times so they could have my injuries and get a disabled permit themselves.

  152. Temperance*

    Also, while I’m not an expert on disability, you are not going to get SSI/SSDI because you have a standing monthly medical appointment. That’s … not a disability that impedes your ability to work in any job, which is the basic regulations that SSI/SSDI follow.

    It’s alarming that this so-called professional doesn’t even know that.

    1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      Also let me tell you some other things we’ve accommodated from people, not just medical related!

      I have had people with court dates, DUI classes and mandated hmmm…legal stuff, that we’ve worked around. And we’re shift work…ffs.

      Even if every job in your field of study said no, you’d still have options because the government doesn’t give disability to anyone who can get a job. So I’m still REALLY just grinding my gears and spinning out on “Give up and apply for disability!”

  153. Candi is Dandy*

    We had a person called for Federal Grand Jury duty. She was out of the office one day per week for 18 months.

    Leaving early one day a month is not going to be an issue.

  154. Krakatoa*

    OP: The only places that would refuse to hire you because of this are places that A: Have very, very strict schedule rotations (I was thinking like, 7 days on/ 7 days off type jobs, and even then they could probably accommodate), or places you wouldn’t want to work.

    My work once considered a person who couldn’t work any weekends at all, and we were all perfectly OK with that possibility (they didn’t accept our job, but still). People are generally understanding and reasonable.

  155. rubyrose*

    Sigh. College career counselors…
    My story comes from the mid 1990s. At that time I wore a very visible metal brace on my left leg. There was a software company that routinely interviewed on campus, courtesy of career counseling. I had experience in the software used by the company and an interview was arranged. The interviewer spent 10 minutes inquiring about my brace.
    After the interview I went straight to the career counselor and told him what happened. I suggested that at the very least he needed to speak with the company about their recruiter acting in an illegal manner. Better yet, maybe they should not let this company interview on campus any more. The counselor looked at me like I had spoken heresy. He mumbled something about how this company hires from the college every semester. This counselor was a racial minority. This school prides itself on the large number of minority students it serves.
    Never went back into that office. Was successful in finding an internship that turned into a job with the help of a professor. If the school ever asks me why I don’t contribute to them…

  156. Katefish*

    I actually did have the office pot-stirrer get annoyed with me for a standing medical appointment (weekly), but I haven’t had any issues after she left that job, or at my current job. I’m salaried and would recommend looking for salaried positions or companies with core hours. That said, my work appointments both float AND have fixed times (court appearances), and regular doctor’s appointments are STILL okay. At a normal desk job? No issue whatsoever.

    1. Lemon Meringue Pie*

      If the office pot-stirrer harasses you about your disability, that’s a matter for HR.

  157. generic_username*


    It would be illegal for any workplace to not accommodate you. This is bare minimum; most employers won’t care at all to make the accommodation and likely your coworkers won’t even notice you’re getting an accommodation. This must have been devastating “advice” to receive and I hope the righteous indignation in Allison’s answer and in the comments of this post lessen the hurt I’m sure that damaging conversation caused.

  158. ThisColumnMakesMeGratefulForMyBoss*

    Wow, just wow. Even if you needed to leave early once a week, most places wouldn’t have a problem with it. That counselor has no business counseling.

  159. Julie S.*

    Just because some employers can’t accommodate this doesn’t mean all of them can’t. And you have a medical necessity so it’s not just to skip out early for the weekend.

    You could also find a job to accommodate leaving early Friday and still work a 40 hour work week. I have coworkers who work 10 hrs/4 days and have every Monday/Friday off, or some people start their shift at 6:00 AM and are out by 3:00 PM everyday. Regular business hours might be 8-5 for walk in customers but the building is open 6:00 AM-6:00PM For most employers and even later and weekend access for executive management. It’ll be a big deal to leave early every Friday if you join a toxic workplace, somewhere that is especially rigid, or a place where everybody is completely overworked.

  160. Veryanon*

    Good God, this is terrible advice. I had hoped that college career centers had improved since I was in school back in the stone ages (1980’s), but clearly that hasn’t happened. :(

  161. Dancing Otter*

    Rage week and then some. I shudder to think what we will be seeing Thursday and Friday.
    Alison, did you save these up?

  162. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

    It’s like when we were getting ready to leave for the US, my MIL thoughtfully said to me: “I don’t know what you’re going to do there. I suppose someone will hire you as a secretary, but then you’ll spend more on daycare than you’ll ever make… I guess you’ll be better off not working and staying home with the kids”. A year later, I used the new network I’d built through a job I’d found *in my field* to get her son a job too – he wasn’t getting any interviews. But my MIL was a construction worker who may or may not have finished high school. Her knowledge of workplace practices in the US was nonexistent. She wasn’t working as (and being paid to work as) a COLLEGE CAREER COUNSELOR OH MY GOD WHAT IS WRONG WITH THIS PERSON sorry, I got a bit emotional here. OP, if there was one person on that virtual meeting who shouldn’t be working, it’s the counselor. Most certainly not you. I’ve had workplaces accommodate my sons’ many many many surgeries, injuries, weekly therapy appointments, and more things that I can no longer remember. Your career counselor has OMG NO EARTHLY IDEA (sorry, sorry) what she’s talking about.

  163. A Social Worker*

    Add me to the chorus of managers saying this is SO not a big deal to accommodate! I actually have multiple people on my team who require this sort of accommodation and it is an absolute non-issue, and none of their coworkers are jealous. The person who gave this advice should be fired.

  164. menchildren of the corn*

    Rage inducing. I too had the displeasure of a wholly useless and moronic school and then uni career counsellor.

    I swear these people are the most incompetent idiots out there and could never get an actual job that didn’t require them to be totally out of touch spreading their ill informed idiocy around. Never met one with half a brain

    I despise career counsellors despise. The school one I had really fucked my shit up. If ever there was a job for incompetents its this.

  165. Employment Lawyer*


    That is completely wrong. Not only is that perhaps illegal for many businesses (if it’s an FMLA issue) but purely on a practical side, PREDICTABLE, MONTHLY, HALF DAYS should not be a major issue w/ most normal employers. Not to get into details, but I’m not even under the FMLA and my employee takes a lot more time than that.

    This career counselor is majorly negligent or incompetent, if not both.

    Anyway, as with all things, YMMV. Up to you how much you want to call out the counselor who gave bad advice. It can range from “letting them know” to “letting their boss/grandboss know” to “letting your disability rights student group know” to “hiring a lawyer to allege disability discrimination w/r/t career services.” It varies by how comfortable you are both with the fight aspect, and with the outcome for the counselor.

    Take this into account, though: For a substantial portion of people, the idea of NOT working (and still getting paid) is incredibly and wonderfully appealing. The “disability” comment may have been an attempt to try and help you do that. It’s so weird, though, and such bad advice generally, that it’s hard to tell.

    1. Polly Hedron*

      I also wondered if the counselor thought she was doing the OP a favor by encouraging OP to have an easy life on disability (but even if the OP had agreed, this would be terrible advice, because OP is nowhere near qualifying for disability)!

      1. I'm just here for the cats*

        Plus life on disability is not easy. It’s not even very livable. People think that those on disability just take in the money but you can hardly survive,
        Especially if you live in a city. My aunt never married her long term/lived with boyfriend because if she had their disability (both were on disability) would have changed and gotten less because they would have to claim each other’s “income” (I think) because they were married. but 2 “roommates” living together for 30 years and it’s no problem.

        1. Polly Hedron*

          I agree that disability is not an easy life, but the counselor doesn’t know that either.
          My guess is that the counselor
          – doesn’t want to be working
          – envies people on disability
          – says whatever nonsense flits through her brain.

      2. Keymaster of Gozer*

        and life on benefits is pretty much living in near starvation with NO additional money to save or to do anything but just survive.

      3. Employment Lawyer*

        Yeah, I know. I help clients with disability stuff: Few folks who actually know what’s up would want to be in that situation, but a lot of folks who DON’T know what’s up seem to think it sounds like a vacation.

  166. K.K.*

    I am so sorry you were given this completely ridiculous “advice”.

    I am not in your field, but here are some examples of how I have seen this worked in the real world. We are talking about at most 6 days a year of missed work.
    * You use sick leave. In many jobs you will have more than 6 days/year of sick leave.
    * You use PTO. In most jobs you will have more than 6 days/year of PTO.
    * You use unpaid leave, I believe this is covered by FMLA once you have been at your job a year.
    * You make up the time elsewhere in your workweek or work month (note this is generally not an option in California where overtime is defined as over 8 hours/day rather than over 40 hours/week).
    * You make up the time on the weekend (e.g. the Sunday before your Friday appointment)

    There are pros and cons to all of these, but all of them involve you having a job and getting the medical care you need, and very few of them even involve you getting different benefits than your peers.

    Knowing well ahead of time when your appointments are makes it easier to work with. Some flexibility also does – if your job includes running a Friday afternoon workshop, it might make more sense to schedule for Monday afternoons.

    Others may have different advice, but my suggestion would be that after you have an offer and before you start I would make sure they know about the first appointment. Then I would bring the recurring nature to your manager in your first week and ask if they have preferences on how they are handled (e.g. PTO vs making up the hours).

    1. PollyQ*

      Making up the time in California IS allowed if the employee is exempt, which I would expect someone working in public relations to be.

  167. College Career Counselor*

    I’m really late to the party, and I haven’t read all the comments yet. What I can say is I’m sorry your career counselor gave you a load of crap masquerading as career advice. She’s not only wrong, she’s actively harmful, and you should not listen to a word she says. To paraphrase Alison, it sounds like she sucks and isn’t going to change, so you did the exact right thing in reaching out for other advice. My sincere condolences on the malpractice ass-clownery of that counselor (and the office if they don’t do anything about it). I don’t know if you’re up to it, but it’s absolutely worth reporting to the career services director and/or the division head. Because I guarantee you, this is not the first time she’s said something like this.

    1. Danish*

      I have to assume what she means is “*I* don’t think thats a legitimate excuse and *I* would be jealous if I saw someone leaving early on Friday “.

      She probably also thinks wfh is basically like being on vacation

      1. Danish*

        Hm! Didn’t mean to leave this as a reply here. Trying to comment on Mobile is An Experience.

  168. Colorado*

    Good God, I leave early on a Friday at least once a month because I’m just sick of the work week. Jeez – no employer in their right mind will care.

  169. Geralt of HRivia*

    I-w-wait what? Was she on some sort of mind-altering substance?! I have a chronic issue that can cause me to feel completely out of it, foggy, and make getting out of bed in the morning nearly impossible. I CAN get going, just takes me a while. Even worse, I can’t predict when I have a flare-up so it’s RAndOm.

    Any employer that has made a big deal of it hasn’t kept me long and I’ve never had it become an issue. I will say from experience, however, if you negotiate the time in an interview you’d do well to get it in writing. It stops a company from “evolving” your position the moment you’re hired.

  170. Lovecraft Beauty*

    I leave early once a week for a medical appointment. The entire conversation I have had with every boss, ever:
    Me: Hey, I have a regular medical appointment on (day) at (time) so I’ll be leaving a little before that.

    Them: No problem, put it on the shared calendar so I remember. Do you have thoughts on (something else work-related)?

    Zero pushback.

  171. Sylvan*

    Yes, please do report this. It’s bizarre for a career counselor to tell students to just give up on ever having a career because of a monthly medical appointment. What is she telling disabled students to do, or students who need medical treatments more frequently than you do? Just drop out of school?

  172. LGC*

    …so wait, is this “Worst Boss of 2020” week?

    Is this “Worst ‘Professionals’ of 2020” week?! (I’m putting “professionals” in quotes because the only thing a lot of these letter subjects are professional at is ineptitude.)

  173. Erin*

    This career counselor is totally wrong. Most employers will accommodate your medical needs. Also, you can qualify for intermittent FMLA (I think in most states) to ensure that you will not be retaliated against for medical accommodation.

  174. Potatoes gonna potate*

    That is terrible!!!!!!!

    I never worked with a career counselor but I too had this fear many years ago, not sure why it came about but it was there. I’m so glad OP wrote in for advice because this si the worst advice I’ve ever heard.

  175. Lemon Meringue Pie*

    I’m in the UK so my experience maybe isn’t as directly relevant but I wanted to chime in anyway.

    I finish early once a week to attend an appointment and just make the time up another day. Have done for several years. Last year I had a period of twice-weekly hospital appointments and it was no big deal.

    I remember chatting to my dept manager about some other accommodations I needed and how I felt self conscious and awkward about it – and she said: you know, lots of people need adjustments of one kind or another, you just only know about yours so it can feel like it’s just you, but try to remember it’s not.

    None of this is or should be a big deal. Do not let this terrible “advisor” kill your career!

  176. WarblerB*

    Hi Letter Writer,

    I work as an advisor at a university and I’m so sorry you encountered such awful advice. I share Allison’s sentiment that this person should be reported. You could even speak with your school’s student disability services office and share your experience. I’ll just echo what so many others have said, that advice was mean spirited, out of touch with reality, and totally inappropriate. I hope you will not let those remarks hurt your confidence and wish you the best of luck in your career search!

  177. A Hopefully Not Terrible College Career Counselor*

    Ugh, not all of us college career counselors are terrible, I promise! Some of us actually do spend a lot of time talking to companies to see what their needs and perspectives are. And some of us read AAM religiously!

    1. careerwoman*

      Exactly. And, as someone who has worked in higher education at different types of institutions for over 20 years, getting accommodations for things like regular appointments is not a problem and is something that happens in just about every office all the time. This counselor demonstrated that they are tremendously out of touch and I honestly wish I knew who it was and why they are so inept.

  178. Lancelottie*

    I have uncontrolled epilepsy and I got a ton of advice like this when I was in college. It was all bunk. I avoid jobs where its essential that I be able to use sharp blades, climb ladders, drive, or be the only adult caring for small children. Beyond that, I need some minor accommodations and people are fine with that! Ignore that terrible advice. I shudder to think of all of the career opportunities I could have missed if I’d listened to the advice I got in college.

  179. GrumpyGnome*

    This is beyond ridiculous. I had standing therapy and doctor appointments weekly for over a year, sometimes twice a week, and my large, global corporation had no problem making this work. I have evening classes coming up this fall and spring semesters and I already have the approval to work from home and shift my schedule on the two days a week I need to leave early (and note, I’m completely changing careers and they know this).

    I am livid on your behalf. I didn’t deal with career centers when I was younger and in college and based on what I’ve seen here on AAM, I am incredibly glad. Listen to Alison, report this as far up as you can, and know that you acted wisely by writing in here instead of listening to them.

  180. BasicWitch*

    Oh, I had this counselor!

    Jk, but I had one just as helpful. My GPA had slipped due to me battling depression/PTSD. I had clarified my goals and wanted to get back on track and figure out my options for finishing strong. The counselor spent the whole session chastising me for my “lack of effort” and told me there was no reason to expect I’d improve if that’s how I had been performing. She cut me off every time I tried to point out that my grades the quarter before were excellent and scoffed every time I tried to direct the conversation towards practical steps I could take. I left the meeting in tears. The next quarter I actually did better, but I still struggled in one class which at the time I saw as confirmation of what this counselor had said, and ended up dropping out.

    1. Not So NewReader*

      I so understand that feeling of defeat.

      OP, I think the most important thing I can tell you is do NOT let this person kick you down. Just DON’T. Decide right here and right now you will not let this person cause you to do “less than” in life.

      Yep. I got stories.
      I went to the department of labor for so-called career counseling many years ago. I was told, “Because you are a woman, you can do nursing, secretarial or teaching. That is all you will find.”
      So I got a job working in a nursery. There a WOMAN informed me that because I am a woman, it is biologically impossible for me to understand plants. I am missing parts of my brain that allows me to comprehend such things. Yes, this came from a woman.

      I thought things were getting better. I thought people were getting less judgy and hateful. Fast forward to the mid 2000s. I worked with a younger woman who said, “I have a learning disability. They told me at school that it is impossible for me to learn. So I never got my driver’s license because they told me at school that I can’t learn.”
      (We drove around until she convinced herself that she DID actually know how to drive. Then we went together for her to take her test. She passed with flying colors and tears of joy.)

      OP, I hope you report this person but I totally understand if you don’t. The most important thing here is that you do not allow this person to shape your thinking and in turn shape your life. As Basic Witch points out above here, these FOOLS can ruin or greatly damage a person’s life, if taken seriously. Do not let this counselor’s word echo in your head. Move a way from the counselor. Make it a life habit to move away from anyone who says, “no, you can’t”. Get AAM’s books and/or read her column regularly. If you listen to Alison, you will probably come out of this very well.

      In my heart, I hope you show that woman all there responses here. I hope she crawls under a rock because she is so embarrassed the way everyone is condemning her words to you.

  181. Buffalogal*

    I don’t know why colleges and universities haven’t wised up and instead of hiring people to run a career center, reached out to HR and hiring managers in a variety of industries, offered them $1000 to be available to advise students for an evening. They could have 40 different people in, provide a much better service to their students and save a boat load of cash.

  182. Tiara Wearing Princess*

    So LW 1 studied at this university, presumably in the expectation that her education would help her obtain meaningful paid employment. Paid possibly hundreds of thousands of dollars for tuition, likely took out student loans and this is the advice she gets? Uh, yeah report this loon to her superiors, the dean of students, the Dean of the school, the 11 o’clock news. And maybe ask for a tuition refund.

  183. Sparkles McFadden*

    Your career counselor needs a career counselor. No decent manager would have a problem with letting someone get medical treatments once a month. People are accommodated for all sorts of things, many of which are not health related, such as a company softball league, evening classes etc.

    I had a staff member who needed regular blood tests, so he would come in a couple of hours late once a month. If his projects were at a critical point, he’d make up the time, but I did not have a problem if he couldn’t do so. This never had an effect on his performance.

    One of my more problematic staff members came to me to complain about this. I told him that I made an effort to accommodate everyone’s work/life balance, and his coworker’s schedule was something I’d worked on with him. Problem employee pulled out a sheet tracking who came in when, who had days off on short notice etc. I explained that it wasn’t his job to track his coworkers. Since all time off was on a central calendar, we all knew where everyone was. All requests for time off were handled on a case by case basis, and and other people’s time off was not his concern, so he should concentrate on his own work.

    Well, problem employee decided that it would be a good idea to complain about this to our department head at a quarterly meeting with the entire department present. He launched into a tirade about how I was letting “some people” make their own hours but not him. Department Head explained this was not a discussion we were going to have. Department Head and I were the only two who knew of the employee’s health problem and we were respecting his privacy. Problem employee would not be deterred. He was determined to make his own hill and die on it in front of the entire department. In the midst of his rant, the employee getting the monthly tests stood up and yelled “I have leukemia and I am getting my blood tested you idiot!!!” Problem employee said “Oh.”

    When we had a round of layoffs, each department had to lose one staff member. We chose problem employee as the person to go. The employee with the health issue is still doing well, physically and professionally.

    1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      I have to ask though, why was this problem employee not disciplined?! You don’t get to grandstand in front of everyone, this wasn’t good for the ill employee or anyone else. I would have suspended him without pay for continuing to escalate after being told it wasn’t any of his business. That’s bad for morale and he was poisoning the well by being allowed to be such a loud mouth :(

      I’m glad he’s gone! But I wish it wasn’t under the guise of cutbacks but I am going to assume you’re one of those entities that doesn’t make it easy to terminate someone?

      I would terminate employment if someone made it clear he was going to stalk everyone and keep track of time like that. That’s some scary shit tbh. And a grand waste of time! So he’s time thieving, saying he’s working and all this time he’s just hawk eyeing the other staff members!

      1. Sparkles McFadden*

        It was the kind of place where you had to put in a fair amount of work to terminate someone. It was a multi-stage process, and if the person showed enough improvement, we’d have to start from square one with any future incidents. I was OK with that process because most people actually will improve during the formal warning stages as they get a lot of guidance on what “doing a good job” actually means. Problem employee was put on a PIP and did improve somewhat. Not really enough, so I think we’d have gotten to termination without the layoffs.

  184. SaintVeronica*

    Another member of the “nope nope NOPE SERIOUSLY NOPE” brigade here! I have a chronic illness that requires weekly injections to manage, plus regular appointments with various doctors and specialists. I also work a job that requires someone in my role to be physically in the building for every minute that we are open (16hrs a day, seven days a week) – IIRC, the job advert when I applied specifically asked for “full availability across all shifts.” Of the five of us who work in this role, EVERY SINGLE ONE OF US has some kind of weekly standing appointment / regular unavailability – medical, schooling, family commitments, social engagements, whatever. And you know what? It has literally never been a problem. Not once. Not for any of us, or for my manager, or for the business. Even in previous 9am-5pm jobs I’ve had (with otherwise genuinely terrible managers), it hasn’t been an issue – it’s just “Oh, SaintVeronica is out of the office this morning, but she’ll be in around midday if you need to talk to her about the Llamas Wearing Bowties report.”

    Please, please, please report this college counsellor.

  185. HR Exec Popping In*

    OP, this is so not a big deal. A) Companies have a legal obligation to make reasonable accommodations. B) Leaving work a little early once a month generally doesn’t even raise up to the accommodation level for most professional jobs. C) In today’s world, allowing employees with flexibility is very normal. Frankly if you wanted to leave early once in a while for a hair appointment it would be no big deal, let alone for a medical procedure. D) Report this counselor or have AAM do it on your behalf. The guidance provided was so unbelievably irresponsible I’m speechless.

  186. Rexish*

    Wtf? The need a new career. This person has to be reported!

    90% of my office leaves at 2pm on Fridays. As long as we are at the office from 9-2 we can arrange our own hours. Also, PR is not exactly ‘must be at the desk from 9-5’ type job. So it’s very likely that LW will do their own schedule and therefore there might not be a reason to even think about this. I’m mad now.

  187. Cheesehead*

    Hello! Actual PR professional here. Don’t listen to a word this person says because they are an absolute idiot. I’m not sure whereabouts you are located, but if you are located near Madison, Wisconsin somehow and would be interested in some part time work or would like to have a mentorship relationship, please respond to this comment and hopefully we can get in touch! Any employer that does take issue with this isn’t an employer worth working for.

    1. Cheesehead too, electric boogaloo*

      Chiming in to say that I am a PR person in Wisconsin, too, and our nonprofit is closed Friday afternoons.

      Also, someone has probably pointed this out, but how does this counselor expect people to schedule maternity appointments??

      1. JSPA*

        Electric boogaloo is no longer a harmless term. Been co-opted by violent supremicists pushing for a race war.

      2. Cheesehead*

        That is actually accurate for us as well at least in the summers when we do summer hours and take Fridays off since that isn’t our busy time. Also, I had no idea about the electric boogaloo and white supremacy thing and have definitely been saying it too. Thank you for the heads up.

  188. James*

    I’ve known a number of people who take off early, for various reasons. Some for medical reasons, some for religious obligations, and in a few cases it was because “I’ve got the PTO, I may as well use it”. In any reasonably-run workplace they won’t bat an eye about leaving work early for a medical appointment. Frankly, I’d be thrilled to find a kid fresh out of college that actually thought this through and was willing to be ill on the weekends to avoid harming their productivity at work! It shows a level of maturity that we normally have to spend months if not years to develop in junior staff. (For my part, if I’m going to be miserable I’d rather be miserable and get paid for it. But I’m a disgruntled, cynical field hand.)

    Regarding councilors, this is one of many reasons I simply gave up on them in college. They’re worthless at best, and actively damaging most of the time. Maybe there are some exceptions, but I’ve never seen one.

    My advice: Skip the councilors. Go to the minimum number of required sessions, and go in knowing that you’re wasting your time to check some box some administrator decided you needed to check. I mean, what’s this person’s background? At my alma mater they were fellow students half the time, and the other half the time they were folks who couldn’t hack it in the private sector, the public sector, or as a professor. That sort of background builds tremendous confidence, let me tell you….

    What you should focus on is your professors. Spend time with them, work with them on some projects. Do things that build your CV or resume. Attend some industry functions/fairs/talks/whatever they’re called in your field of interest and make a point to do some interviews while you’re there. You’ll horribly mangle a few–I certainly did!–but you’ll get your feet wet, and most folks at these sorts of things are willing to give you tips on what the industry is expecting. I’m still grateful for the guy that stopped an interview after five minutes and said “You’re obviously not going to work out, let’s discuss why.”

    To paraphrase Spider Jerusalem, you don’t learn a field by taking classes; you learn it by freaking DOING it. Five minutes of interacting with folks in your field is worth five years of chatting with “councilors”.

  189. George*

    I know I’m late to the party, but here are “accommodations” that I have personally gotten (meaning things that have been ok or negotiated as No Big Deal with management):

    1.) Part time until I could arrange childcare – to end at my discretion.
    2.) Leave early every Friday in winter (see Orthodox Judaism comment in AAM’s reply)
    3.) Unplanned PTO for child-related issues (not just medical or child care, but school meetings etc).
    4.) Unplanned PTO for emergency veterinary care
    5.) Part time for a year when I had a child
    6.) Flexible time when Life Does Stuff (so maybe I work some on Sunday because whatever happened)

    All were at my request and all (except maybe #5) didn’t cause an eyelash to be batted. #5 was a bit tricky because I was in a government position, but that was mostly a ‘we don’t know what paperwork is required’ kind of way.

    I also know gobs of people who take off 3 hours to go to the allergist every Tuesday and just come in early Monday and Wednesday, etc.

    Seriously, even if you have to take leave or PTO, it’s 12 half days: 6 days a year. ANY full time job should cover that – even very very rigid ones where you are manning a front desk from 9-5!

  190. AnotherSarah*

    This is BIZARRE. I don’t have much more to add except that there are a number of ways you might get regular time away to take care of medical things. In my various jobs, I’ve:

    -just traded shifts (for hourly shift work) once a month. Never had an issue doing so.
    -had a formal way to make up the hours (that is, if I missed 3 hrs of work 1 Friday a month, I’d regularly work 9-5:45 instead of 9-5 on Thursdays)
    -informally made up the hours on the honor system
    -used PTO (sick time) for all or part of the hours–this was often a less desirable option because I could easily run out if I had an illness that took me out for even 2 full days.

    No one will bat an eye and probably a lot of people have a similar arrangement, even weekly appointments.

  191. nnn*

    It’s not relevant to LW’s decisions or actions, but I’m idly curious about whether this career counsellor would be able to attend a monthly medical appointment. On one hand, my experience has been that jobs on college campuses allow for that kind of flexibility. On the other hand, how would the counsellor be able to come up with such an idea if she had been exposed to reasonable flexibility before?

  192. crayolacrayons*

    Honestly are they okay over at the career center? Are they firing people for needing to go to an appointment once a month? Do they follow their own messed up rules? Enraged minds need to know

  193. Karlee*

    OP – Please don’t avoid reporting this counselor because you don’t want to get them in trouble. That’s a really common feeling but it’s not a good instinct. Don’t worry about them getting fired – that probably won’t happen. Instead, they’ll likely get coached. Or they’ll go educate themselves (and they should). Without reporting them, they’ll go on to give really damaging advice to who knows how many other students? So be brave and either report them or let Alison.

  194. Sarah*

    Pre-covid, I left at 3:30 pm every Friday for a medical appointment and no one has ever even asked for a doctor’s note. I actually haven’t even been asked to make up the time. Please read up on the Americans with Disabilities Act. This is as good a time as any to start becoming familiar with what your rights are. The world is hard enough already!

  195. Prof. Space Cadet*

    I’m a college professor and I’ve previously served on the committee that tries to maintain relations between career services and the academic arm of the university. If I found out that one of our career counselors had told a student this, it would take all the restraint in the world for me to not to scream at the top of my lungs at that person. (Not professional, I know).

    If one of my students had this happen to them, I would advise them to send an email to the Director of the Career Center factually describing what happened (“On June 5, I met with Jane Worbleworth at 10:30am. She told me XXXXXX. I believe this advice is inconsistent with the Americans with the Americans of Disabilities Act of 1990 and request a formal response from administration.” I would CC email (not BCC) to the academic dean who oversees the public relations major as well as the Director Disabilities Services for the university. The CC is important for two reasons: (1) it’s going to put pressure on the director of the career center to de-escalate the situation, and (2) it’s important for Disabilities Services to know that there’s someone at the university who doesn’t respect ADA. My guess is that the director may try to reframe the situation as a “misunderstanding” or “miscommunication.” If that happens I would reply-all something to the effect of, “I appreciate you trying to clarify the situation, but that is not my perception of what happened. I would like to be assigned to a counselor other than Jane Worbleworth.”

    1. Vax is my disaster bicon*

      This is a great way to use the bureaucratic structure of the university in your favor.

    2. Not So NewReader*

      This strategy of CC’ing more than one person is a good strategy for many situations. You are tapping their accountability to each other. They all know the other one sees and is watching.

      As a student, it’s easy to think, “I am on the lower rung of the ladder here….”. Yes and no. You are also paying tuition which is their income.

      And, uh, BTW, their school just made international fame because your letter was published here on AAM. You know, AAM who has a bizillion readers all over the world. All you’d have to do is put this link on your social media and off we’d go!

    3. Working Hypothesis*

      I love your suggestion to weaponize the cc field, but I feel that you’re encouraging LW to ask for too little. This is somebody who should absolutely not be counseling *anyone* — if she said this to one person who had the initiative to write in to Alison about it, what has she been saying to all her other clients? Especially the disabled ones?

      I would be demanding to know what the school intends to do to ensure that this counselor does not continue offering bigoted and objectively inaccurate advice to the university’s disabled students. That could look like firing her or like retraining and extra supervision or like moving her to a different job that isn’t client-facing or whatever else the school comes up with… but I think the student may want to find a way to politely express the firm expectation that the university will find SOME way to ensure that this counselor is not going to do anything like this again while in their hire.

    4. I'm just here for the cats*

      I wonder if before she reaches out to anyone else if OPcould send an email to the carrier counselor recapping their conversation so they have a paper trail. Something like this,
      Hello counselor,
      I was just going over some notes about our recent meeting. You had mentioned that I should get disability because an employer won’t allow me to do ake time off for my appointment. (Also if there were other points made just wrap them in so it’s not too obvious or ask a question if she knows how you can start something like that.)
      Then there cant be any doubt that this was a misunderstanding. Even if she doesnt reply back it would be, I think, a Red flag for administration. As in, well if you didn’t say that why didn’t you correct OP when they followed up.

      1. I'm just here for the cats*

        Also, use your new PR skills to reach out to press about situation if nothing comes of it. Something happened at the college I work at (way worse that this, unfortunately, involving a tenured professor) and after a few months of nothing being done, or at least communicated, the student took to social media, and then news outlets, and the professor resigned on his own.

  196. char*

    I have a disability that causes me to have to take frequent time off without notice, usually for at least half a day every week. My employer accommodates all of this without issue. Compared to that, leaving early at a scheduled time once per month is NOTHING. I’m having a hard time imagining what sort of employer would even blink an eye at that.

  197. MissDisplaced*

    This was terrible advice from that career counselor!

    One afternoon per month is not so bad to manage a chronic medical condition. And who knows, in coming years perhaps there will be new medications you can self administer, or you may find a doctor office with later or Saturday morning hours.

    I would say that Public Relations has some potential to be a difficult field because it can have emergency or crisis situations that occur unexpectedly, or may involve last minute travel (though not all PR jobs do). So, it’s fair to think about how you’d deal with that situation if it suddenly impacted your medication schedule, or how you’d answer that question during an interview with a prospective employer. But I think this is definitely still all very manageable stuff for you and employers that wouldn’t and shouldn’t prevent you from working in PR and having a career!

  198. Working Rachel*

    As a manager, I probably wouldn’t even NOTICE this. You would ask me once about it, I would say sure, you’d do it, and then maybe a year later I’d need to talk to you at 3:00 on a Friday afternoon and I’d remember, “oh, right, OP leaves early on the first Friday of every month.” This is incredibly minor and the vast majority of jobs would accommodate it with no problems. Maybe if you were like an elementary school teacher it might be a bigger deal, but even then, it’s once a month for a few hours. This is nothing and your career counselor is a danger to others.

  199. Red 5*

    Please, please, please report this person to your school and make sure they are not allowed to continue to harm students.

    I used to have a standing monthly medical appointment, it was on a Wednesday afternoon because I couldn’t choose the exact time. My job let me take the entire day off each time and either make up the hours or just use sick leave since that’s what it’s for. They were happy to help. My spouse has to take a half day once every few months for a medical procedure that takes hours, his office has never blinked an eye. He actually has an alternate work schedule regularly to leave early on Fridays by working extra other days, and his medical appointments can’t be on Fridays (the office is closed those days) so they let him do BOTH.

    This kind of comment from your counselor is discrimination, it’s ableist, and it’s harmful and unacceptable. There are crappy managers out there who might make the situation difficult, but that’s because they are also ableist and jerks.

  200. Lauren*

    Thank you, Alison, for answering this question the way you did. I was a clueless 20 year old not too long ago. We all were. And there are too many people willing to prey on other people who don’t know how the world works or what is a fair salary. And it is infuriating as hell. So thank you.

  201. lazy intellectual*

    WTF – I’m so glad this person wrote into Alison and got their question answered. More college students need to be aware of the fact that they are being fed bull**** from the career centers.

    There is another level of insidiousness here – I’m afraid the college counselor is giving wonky advice to potentially marginalized demographics that could end up leaving them worse off financially in the long run (like giving up on a career altogether). I don’t know if the LW falls into that category, but, yikes.

  202. Beckysuz*

    Perhaps the most rage inducing part of this is that the college that just took her money for four years is paying someone to tell her she will never get to use her degree???? Sweet baby Jesus

  203. IndyDem*

    I worked with patients who will require either weekly or every other week infusions, most likely for the rest of their life. Out of say, 150 patients, I’ve only encountered 2 times where employers were an issue – and these infusions can be up to 6 hours long. SO yes, bad advice. One suggestion, though. Many injections/infusions can be done at home rather than in the MD office – this really depends on the medication. If it would be easier on you, I’d double check with your MD if this is an option (or with your insurance company, depending on your trust level of your MD).

  204. Nightengale*

    Also, are all jobs a person does with a public relations degree M-F, 9-5? I mean, I don’t know much about public relations work but it seems likely there is some variety in the field, because the times that the public needs relating can vary. Maybe you would have a job where you work 2 Saturdays a month and have 2 Fridays off. Or you work two evenings a month and get a whole Friday off, not as an accommodation but because the job needs that evening coverages and builds in flexibility. Or you start and end early sometimes to accommodate collaborators in different time zones. Or you work from home three days a week because most of your work is writing that can be done from anywhere and go in two days for meetings and you can choose which days those are. Or or or. . .

    Also, you probably aren’t going to live where you currently live forever and have the same doctor. Maybe in another city a doctor might have Friday night hours. Or Saturday morning hours. Or be part of a hospital with an infusion center with extended hours. Or or or. . .


    Another irate disabled person

  205. Frumple Rock*

    This “advice” is the very crap that makes people afraid to ask for their legally-protected rights.

    I started therapy for my mental health approx 2 weeks before I started a new job. I let my boss know “I started treatment for a condition just prior to taking this job and will need to leave early once a WEEK.”

    We have had absolutely zero problems with this. No one knows what my appointments are for save one friend, but I update my boss whenever I “graduate” to less frequent appointments. It’s nice.

    This college career goober needs to find a new job for their self, or maybe apply for idiocy benefits if there were such a thing… because she clearly cannot work herself.

  206. Six Feet Under Par: A Chip Driver Mystery*

    My comment would be unnecessary except that I run a PR agency. Yes, there are some hard deadlines, but almost all are easy enough to work around (The weekly Llama wrap might be due, but maybe get it done before you go, or someone else picks it up that week) We stop working on Friday afternoon for drinks anyway. Yes there’s a certain strain of sweatshop agency, but not accommodating you would be a red flag.
    Basically, your career counsellor’s advice could not be more wrong if it was uttered by Wrongy McWrongerson, the mayor of Wrongtown speaking at the annual Wrong Un parade.

  207. Sara*

    The only job I’ve ever had where this could be occasionally (like once every few years) be a bit of an issue for coverage **. But that job we also had to work across 7 days of the week, so we never had Saturday-Sunday weekends.

    ** in the way that it would potentially cause coworkers to have to scramble to cover, not in the way that you’d have to miss your appointment

  208. Quickbeam*

    I just want the OP to know that when many of us were fighting for disability rights in the 1980s, leading to the Americans with Disabilities Act, we had her in our heart. We wanted no one to gave to ask this kind of question again. I am righteously indignant that this kind of perverse “advise” was given to you.

    1. KoiFeeder*

      Is this where I say “thank you for your service” or is there a better way to word that? 1980’s was before my time, but as a disabled person, I appreciate and heavily respect y’all for fighting the good fight.

  209. Pennyworth*

    If I’d just been told I was unemployable and should plan for a lifetime on disability I would have been distraught. OP, I hope you are over the shock of being given 100% wrong advice and proceed to a successful career.

  210. pcake*

    What an awful counselor and a horrible person.

    First off, you could work an earlier shift that ends at, say, 3, and get your shot after work one Friday a month. You could get a job working Sunday through Thursday and get your shot of a Friday. Second, if your college counselor is so sure you won’t be able to work, perhaps your college would owe you a refund for all the classes you took in order to start your career.

    But F all that – just ignore this clueless person. She isn’t worth the title or the salary as she has no idea of working in real life, and… just OMG!

  211. M*

    LW, I feel like at this point the many other commenters have made the point very clearly that this is terrible, inaccurate advice and no office is going to care if you need to work a half day once a month, but I wanted to chime in and say that I’m a manager in retail and I cannot overstate how much of a non-issue it would be if one of my employees came to me with this request. Yes. Of course. They can have that day off, they can use whatever sick time they need for it, they can have the weekend off once a month to recover… whatever is best, we’ll make it work.

    (I also have been in this position in the past — I needed a regular day off each week to see my therapist, and I didn’t even need to disclose to my manager at the time that it was a medical appointment. He didn’t care. Schedules can be adjusted, even in a field like retail that’s all about coverage and has a reputation for being inflexible! This will 100% not be an issue, to the point where if it ever is, take that as a major red flag and get out as quickly as possible.)

  212. Who Plays Backgammon?*

    Alison is right. This person absolutely needs to be reported, and as high up as possible. In giving you that wrong-headed, nutso “advice,” she’s derailing the reason you’re attending your school in the first place. One time a month leaving early for medical reasons? I’m the first person to rankle when I think a coworker is taking advantage of accommodations and leave policy (and I’ve had 3 or 4 coworkers along the way who took major advantage). Leaving early once a month isn’t even worth blinking at. You sound like a responsible person who’d make sure everyone knew it was your appointment day so nothing fell thru the cracks.

    This “counselor” proves they’re totally unqualified for their job in so many ways. And uninformed. And plain stupid. I’ve gotten my share of crappy advice in my time, and unfortunately when I was younger I followed it.

    I see a Public Relations campaign informing people of the laws and educating the educational institutions.

  213. frida*

    This reminds me of my undergraduate career counselor, who, when I told her I wanted to work in a museum, said there was no such thing as a museum employee…. as if they just ran themselves….

    Well, considering the current job market there was maybe a shred of truth to her words, but…

    1. Environmental Compliance*

      Obviously museums run themselves with ghosts, what with all the ancient artifacts and whatnot.

    2. College Career Counselor*

      W. T. F.
      I am stunned at how cluelessly bad/lazy/uninformed/wrong the career counselors are in these stories. Based on what I’m seeing, I’ve been lucky to have worked with some really competent people over the years. Did you laugh in her face or did you just never go back? It may be too late for corrective measures in your case, but I would love to see an update from the OP if she escalated to the Director of Career Services/Dean of the division and what their response was.

    3. Helenteds*

      I am currently an undergraduate student (history major) who is planning to work in a museum setting and my Mom used to work in a museum as well. I find it hard to fathom why this career counselor doesn’t know of the existence of museum employees, though perhaps she thought that all museums are entirely run by volunteers.

      All of this information about terrible college career counseling centers is making me worried about the one at my college, hopefully my university has one of the good ones, not the kind that give out ridiculous advice.

  214. Jo*

    The only thing I can think of it that the career counsellor misunderstood and thought you’d have to leave work early much more often. Not that this would be ok to have this reaction if that was the case, but struggling to understand why they think a once a month appointment would be a deal breaker….

  215. DarnTheMan*

    OP – please, please do not worry about this. When I started my current job, I had a standing weekly therapy appointment that required me to leave about 30 minutes early once a week. I just worked it out with my boss that I would come in a little early that day to make up the time and then put a block in my calendar so I couldn’t be booked for meetings when I needed to leave. No one resented me (what the heck?) for doing that – in fact you’ll probably find a lot of workplaces, people have negotiated different schedules so people are often coming and going at all times outside the core hours.

  216. Don't Send Your Kids to Hudson University*

    If you are in the US, your university/college should have an ADA Coordinator. Contact that person. Tell them this story verbatim.

  217. Bunny*

    OP, I am 30 years into a news career. I was diagnosed with learning disabilities in high school. I was told I would never work in my chosen career by my high school guidance counselor. That woman can suck it. So can this one.

  218. mgguy*

    Just to add to how not a big deal this is-I’ll mention that at my work I’m usually the second person to arrive in the morning(after our secretary, who gets there an hour before she’s supposed to start) and usually one of the last staff members to leave for the day(I’m in academia, and faculty can pretty much set their own hours outside their teaching obligations). My 8-4 nominally job is often more like 7:30-5:00 or 6:00, and a lot of that is because-again-faculty like to dump things on me either at the end of the day, or I get a request early in the day that has to be taken care of immediately and my other duties get shuffled to later in the day.

    In any case, Fridays are usually slow, and if I’ve had a week of a lot of the above I’ll often just say to my supervisor “Hey, you know it’s been a rough week with x, y, and z-can I take off at 2:00 today?” Usually the response is “Send an email to let people know you’ll be gone, and have a good weekend.”

    Back when I was hourly in more or less this same position, our work week was Friday-Thursday. I could sometimes anticipate a busy week with lots of O/T, so would also make this request on Friday to avoid hitting O/T the following(calendar) week, or at least minimize the impact of it. That was usually an even more emphatic “Yes, please do leave early.”

    All of the above is quite literally my leaving early because I want to leave early. Doctor’s appointments and whatever else don’t even register, and once a month wouldn’t even come up on anyone’s radar in my workplace(aside from the one faculty member who would take perverse pleasure in asking you to do something at noon on a Friday you would be out and then complain to the chair that you didn’t get it done, but fortunately that’s a non-issue als0).

  219. A Manager*

    Your counselor is nuts. It’s like he or she is on some power trip to being you down. Forget their “advice.” They don’t work in the real world like the rest of us.

    I had physical therapy twice a week last year. Missed 2-3 hours of work in the Am but made it up later in the day. Office didn’t care. Had coworkers miss work a few times for pregnancy checkups at a different employer. Work got done. No one cared.

    Also, I am a manager. I hope most are like me in that we’d prefer a great live employee than a great dead one. All joking aside, explain your situation to your job and you’ll likely be fine.

  220. Regulator of the Environment*

    This is horrible advice! I work full time and get injections once a month for my MS. Usually on Friday afternoons because it makes me tired after. Been on this treatment for years and I have never had a problem with a work place or coworkers having even the tiniest bit of issue with it. Its not like I am demanding the best days off, the days around holidays off, or spending those days at the beach. Its such a minor accommodation. Its not even worth mentioning that you need an afternoon off every month for a medical appt. until you have offer in hand. I cannot believe someone, a career counselor?!?!?!, would say that.

  221. Steph*

    Even my least reasonable managers have been fine with needing to take a regular day away from the office for medical reasons. The most onerous requirements were to get paperwork from a doctor for HR, and even that wasn’t bad. I just don’t understand how a counselor could believe that absolutely no company would be willing to accommodate such a reasonable request!

  222. Work All Day*

    I graduated hs in 1985 and my male guidance counselor told me, when I asked about colleges, that I should get married and have children and not bother with college because I would just be wasting my parent’s money and would not amount to anything. I made As and Bs, it wasn’t like I was flunking out. His comments, more than anything in my life have pushed me to make something of myself.

  223. always in email jail*

    I get monthly infusions and I am a very productive worker/manager with a six-figure salary. Just putting it out there that needing a monthly medical appointment is not a career-ender. I have never had to request FMLA or any kind of formal accommodation for those appointments. Like you mentioned, I do mine mid-friday afternoon so I have the weekend to recover. When I worked in a government job, I had enough sick leave to cover the appointments without being an issue, I gave my boss a heads up so she wouldn’t think I was taking a half Friday once a month to enjoy my weekend but other than that it was not a problem. My current job has less PTO and, depending on where my IV is placed, I can usually text/work on my laptop so my job has no problem looking the other way (I’m an exempt employee and definitely work >40 hours a week). It has seriously never once been an issue.

  224. Forrest*

    This is terrible advice and I absolutely agree that OP should complain. But the blanket “all university careers advisers are terrible and they know nothing about the ~real world~” stuff is just daft. Universities are not less real places than anywhere else!

  225. SCORMHacker*

    OP, your counselor has no clue what they are talking about but wanted to offer a different experience. At oldjob I was salaried and worked usually 45+ hrs per week, and management made us apply for FMLA for ANY recurring medical appointments (in my case, leaving 30 minutes early every Wednesday for 3 months of counseling appointments). That place was horrible for that and many other reasons, but if it was my first job I wouldn’t have known better and thought that was ok. So just know there are companies out there who aren’t going to be accommodating for medical stuff, and if so, you know you don’t want to work for them, and it’s their problem and not yours!

  226. Sparkles*

    I work in disability accommodations for a large company. This would be totally fine! Do not stress. <3 Someone who handles accommodations all day every day

  227. Spcepickle*

    I just want to add to the support here. If you came to work for me I would give you four options to handle this without batting an eye. You could have a schedule everyday that let you leave earlier than 5pm (a bunch of my people work 6-2:30), you could flex time so you didn’t work any Friday afternoons (or you get every other Friday off), you could take sick leave once a month, or I would help you set up FMLA for the time off. This does not even rise to the level of an issue, it is a minor scheduling point .

  228. PR pro*

    Public relations manager here. This is absolutely not a deal breaker. In fact, it won’t even register as an issue. Particularly considering the flexibility needed in PR work, you can expect to find an employer who will offer this flexibility, because it goes both ways.

  229. Jenifer*

    Wow, just wow. This was, as Allison pointed out, extraordinarily bad advice. Also, you have several reporting options should you find you are not comfortable speaking to that person’s boss (or if they are as out-of-touch as your initial person). If you already work with your school’s ADA offices (sometimes called Disability Services, Accessibility Office, or some variation), you could have a conversation with your point person about this discussion. Or, if you have an Academic Advisor with whom you’re comfortable, you may be able to bring it to their attention as well. If you really aren’t sure, a Bias Response Team or office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (or something along those lines) should be able to guide you. At the very least, you should request a different career counselor.

    It is unfortunate that you had such a disheartening experience, and I hope that you are able to find a more effective mentor as you continue your studies. As many of the commenters have noted, such accommodations are more than feasible in today’s working environment. Good luck!

  230. SubwayFan*

    Just adding another real life experience: I suffer from severe clinical depression, and as such I attended monthly appointments with a doctor to check on medication levels and a weekly 1 hr counseling session with a therapist. I put those therapy sessions on Friday mornings, when few people schedule meetings, and when I was offered my current job a week and a half ago, I borrowed Allison’s scripts. I simply said, “I have a recurring medical appointment on Friday mornings that I’ll need to keep up with. Is that workable with this schedule?” I have never told my boss what that appointment is for, I think most people assume it’s physical therapy because I also suffer from chronic pain in my neck. It’s never been a problem.

  231. Kopper*

    Just here to say I have a close friend who similarly needs to get injections for a condition once a month and works in PR/Communications with no problem, and had for many years and different employers. Don’t listen to the counsellor!

  232. Happy Pineapple*

    Adding to the “this is insane and untrue” chorus: I’ve been an hourly worker in many different settings; I’ve done shift work like call centers and retail, was the only in-office employee at remote working small business, and have worked in a Fortune 500 company with more than 10,000 employees just in my office block. Regular medical appointments and needing to leave early have never, ever been a problem. At worst I had to make up the hours elsewhere, like coming in early or staying late.

  233. Always Learning*

    I love it when Alison gets [justifiably] super mad at something dumb people do or say, because her counter argument is so strong and powerful. I love it so much.

  234. c828*

    This is so crazy. This is the kind of easy accommodation that is barely even worth mentioning before your first day.
    I don’t have a standing medical appointment but I’m pretty sure I’ll come in late or leave early at least one day a month for random doctor’s appointments or other life stuff.

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